Crispin: The Cross of Lead

Crispin: The Cross of Lead, by Avi, is the first book in the Crispin trilogy. Crispin is a 13-year old boy living in England during the 1300's. He grows up as a peasant with no friends other than his mother and the priest in their small village. His mother dies at the beginning of the story, and in his grief he runs into the forest to witness a secret conversation between his selfish master and a mysterious traveler. He barely escapes and is framed for a crime he did not commit. His only other friend, the priest, is murdered for trying to help him. Crispin ventures out from his small town on his own, risking his life to discover new mysteries, freedoms, and friendships.

At the beginning of the book, it was difficult to connect with the setting, as the culture of the 14th century is very different from today. As I kept reading, I identified with Crispin as he was feeling very sad, hopeless, and lost. From that point on, I couldn't put the book down because it was full of excitement, mystery, and fugitive-chasing suspense. This is a great story about Crispin's trust in God, his newly-formed friendships, and his developing confidence as a young man.

--Mr. Riedl