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Acre's Bastard: Historical Fiction from the Crusades

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The Holy Land, 1187 Salah-adin is poised to conquer the Kingdom of Jerusalem. For 10-year old Lucca "the Louse," it's life as normal. The streets of Acre--the wickedest city in the world--are his playground. But when a violent act of betrayal leaves him homeless and alone, he's drawn into a terrifying web of violence, espionage and holy war. The murder of a local clerk sends The Holy Land, 1187 Salah-adin is poised to conquer the Kingdom of Jerusalem. For 10-year old Lucca "the Louse," it's life as normal. The streets of Acre--the wickedest city in the world--are his playground. But when a violent act of betrayal leaves him homeless and alone, he's drawn into a terrifying web of violence, espionage and holy war. The murder of a local clerk sends Lucca and the mysterious Brother Marco into a race against time to stop the Kingdom from tearing itself apart and becoming easy prey for their enemies. Can one lone boy save the Crusader Kingdom from disaster at the Horns of Hattin? This exciting, sometimes wry tale, takes an adult look at the Crusades through the eyes of its most innocent victims--the children. Wayne Turmel is the author of the best-selling The Count of the Sahara. He lives and writes in Chicago, where his motto is "Those who forget the past are doomed to repeat it. The rest of us are doomed too, but get to smile and say 'told you so'."


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The Holy Land, 1187 Salah-adin is poised to conquer the Kingdom of Jerusalem. For 10-year old Lucca "the Louse," it's life as normal. The streets of Acre--the wickedest city in the world--are his playground. But when a violent act of betrayal leaves him homeless and alone, he's drawn into a terrifying web of violence, espionage and holy war. The murder of a local clerk sends The Holy Land, 1187 Salah-adin is poised to conquer the Kingdom of Jerusalem. For 10-year old Lucca "the Louse," it's life as normal. The streets of Acre--the wickedest city in the world--are his playground. But when a violent act of betrayal leaves him homeless and alone, he's drawn into a terrifying web of violence, espionage and holy war. The murder of a local clerk sends Lucca and the mysterious Brother Marco into a race against time to stop the Kingdom from tearing itself apart and becoming easy prey for their enemies. Can one lone boy save the Crusader Kingdom from disaster at the Horns of Hattin? This exciting, sometimes wry tale, takes an adult look at the Crusades through the eyes of its most innocent victims--the children. Wayne Turmel is the author of the best-selling The Count of the Sahara. He lives and writes in Chicago, where his motto is "Those who forget the past are doomed to repeat it. The rest of us are doomed too, but get to smile and say 'told you so'."

51 review for Acre's Bastard: Historical Fiction from the Crusades

  1. 4 out of 5

    Alice Poon

    Going into this novel I was ignorant of the historiography of the Crusades, except for a cursory peek of it from romanticized movies like “Ivanhoe” and “El Cid” that I watched in my school days. A quick search on the internet indicates that the history stretched from the First Crusade (1095 – 1099) – a military expedition to rescue the weakening Byzantine Empire, to the fall of the Kingdom of Jerusalem in the 17th century. Essentially, the military conflicts were religion-based (Christianity ver Going into this novel I was ignorant of the historiography of the Crusades, except for a cursory peek of it from romanticized movies like “Ivanhoe” and “El Cid” that I watched in my school days. A quick search on the internet indicates that the history stretched from the First Crusade (1095 – 1099) – a military expedition to rescue the weakening Byzantine Empire, to the fall of the Kingdom of Jerusalem in the 17th century. Essentially, the military conflicts were religion-based (Christianity versus Muslim) and about territorial control. This novel is set prior to and during the Battle of Hattin which took place on July 4, 1187 (roughly between the Second and Third Crusade), near the city of Tiberias (of present-day Israel) on the western shore of the Sea of Galilee. Opposing forces were the Crusader states of present-day Syria and the Muslim army led by Salah-adin, the Arabic sultan. The story follows a ten-year-old orphan of mixed parentage through his adventures when he accidentally gets caught up in an espionage conspiracy on the eve of a decisive battle between Christian and Muslim states. Through his adolescent eyes, we get to sense, smell and listen to the everyday life in Acre, the melting pot of different cultures, in particular the life of the destitute underclass. The author’s sense of humor keeps the dark tone from getting too dark. Overall, it was an entertaining read, but for my taste, the historical background could’ve used a little more rigorous treatment. I’m giving this novel 3.7 stars, rounding up to 4.

  2. 5 out of 5

    J.R.

    A street-wise orphan, 10-year-old Lucca, "the louse," is content with his lot until a prank brings him before Brother Idoneus, who proves less worthy than his name implies. Believing he's killed the Hospitaller knight, Lucca flees the orphanage, though he has no idea where he'll find safety in Acre, Kingdom of Jerusalem in the year 1187 when the city is surrounded by thousands of Saracens sworn to kill as many Christians as possible. His burden is lightened when he's befriended by Brother Marco. B A street-wise orphan, 10-year-old Lucca, "the louse," is content with his lot until a prank brings him before Brother Idoneus, who proves less worthy than his name implies. Believing he's killed the Hospitaller knight, Lucca flees the orphanage, though he has no idea where he'll find safety in Acre, Kingdom of Jerusalem in the year 1187 when the city is surrounded by thousands of Saracens sworn to kill as many Christians as possible. His burden is lightened when he's befriended by Brother Marco. But his hope of safety soon fades as he's plunged into a dangerous adventure involving heroes, villains, spies and intrigue leading up to the horrors of the Horns of Hattin battle. Wayne Turmel's historical novel delivers an intriguing mix of suspense, action and humor certain to please adults and discerning younger readers who enjoy the writing of such masters as Robert Louis Stevenson and Alexander Dumas.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Terri Karsten

    Perfect viewpoint character for this story Lucca is a plucky 10 year old who knows how to find trouble when he's not even trying. He is observant, but naive, which makes him an ideal person to narrate the events in this story of the Crusades.The adult reader sometimes understands more than Lucca, but like him comes to understand the terrible irony of the conflict. A great read for history buffs. Perfect viewpoint character for this story Lucca is a plucky 10 year old who knows how to find trouble when he's not even trying. He is observant, but naive, which makes him an ideal person to narrate the events in this story of the Crusades.The adult reader sometimes understands more than Lucca, but like him comes to understand the terrible irony of the conflict. A great read for history buffs.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Ross Jeffery

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. The Crusades, religious corruption, and complex communities: Wayne Turmel confronts it all in his newest series, The Lucca le Pou Stories, of which the delicately written Acre’s Bastard is the first instalment of the series. In it, we are introduced to the famed city of Acre, to the half-Syrian, half-Frankish orphan Lucca, and his colourful collective of friends and enemies. The tensions of the time are well conveyed, but so too is this unbreakable sense of community and togetherness, which many The Crusades, religious corruption, and complex communities: Wayne Turmel confronts it all in his newest series, The Lucca le Pou Stories, of which the delicately written Acre’s Bastard is the first instalment of the series. In it, we are introduced to the famed city of Acre, to the half-Syrian, half-Frankish orphan Lucca, and his colourful collective of friends and enemies. The tensions of the time are well conveyed, but so too is this unbreakable sense of community and togetherness, which many traditional history books fail to deliver to their readers. By creating his own world with his own fully-formed characters, Turmel brings that faraway (and often inconceivable) time to life. Although the novel is set in an exciting period of religious and political history, it is in fact the characters who continue to drive the story forward. Lucca – of course – is the standout in the text. Creating an incredibly believable ten-year-old mischievous boy, and somehow placing him right in the centre of the eve of the fall of Jerusalem, is no easy task and one that many writers (and perhaps readers) would shy away from. I must admit, when Lucca is first introduced to us as being just ten, an orphan, and seemingly of low standing (due partly to his mixed heritage), I was dubious as to how this immature character could hold up an entire story in an unfamiliar time period to many readers, all on his own. Why would a young boy care what happened to his city? Does he even understand the complexity of what is happening, the fury of what is to come? In many cases, the answer is no – but that turns out to be perfectly fine too, and actually works to the novels advantage. As Lucca moves and grows throughout the book, the reader learns with him. Turmel makes sure that no prior knowledge of the Crusades is needed, although it is certainly clear that he himself has a strong and passionate knowledge of that period in history. In many ways, Lucca still remains that naïve ten-year-old we are first presented with, peering over the walls to catch a glimpse of a naked woman. He craves a mother’s touch, a father’s advice, the silliness that comes with having friends of your own age. However, due to his unique situation and the troubles he finds himself in, he has to grow up, and fast. A fantastic transformation occurs over the course of the text – one of the ending images, of Lucca standing with his newly acquired horse, watching helplessly but also somehow knowingly as the battle unfolds below him, is an image which for me, completed and cemented this change. Turmel uses Lucca to ask the questions which we as readers feel compelled to know – does everyone really hate each other, as they are told? Why do people still fight, knowing almost for certain they are going to lose? By the end of the novel we, like young Lucca, have a deeper understanding of the politics of the time, the atmosphere of the area, and the dynamics of its inhabitants. Turmel’s world is an ambitious one, and praise must be given for the depths of detail which fills the novel. It is an interesting and difficult part of history to discuss, and Turmel does well not produce a monotonic history book; instead, he breathes life into the time period and injects it with other, equally challenging topics. At the beginning of the story, Lucca is assaulted by a Brother, someone who he was always taught to treat with the utmost respect. The attempted rape clearly lingers with him, and that final scene with Brother Idoneus is one heavy with emotion. Turmel manages to portray the deceit and the trauma that Lucca feels after the attack, without giving too much page-space to the brutality itself. He also chooses to focus on another challenging topic – the leper community. Presumably, like the reader (at least like me anyway), Lucca is tainted with misconceptions of what actually happens inside a leper hospital, and makes assumptions as to what the people would be like. In fact, Turmel establishes this beautiful and loving community; the relationship between the Sisters and Lucca is a particular favourite of mine. They are incredibly strong-willed and caring, smashing stereotypes of what it meant to be a woman of lower standing during that time. The friendship between Brother Marco and Lucca is another strong one, with Brother Marco evolving to be a character who is loved and rooted for by the reader as he helps Lucca along his quest into manhood. For all the quality strong characters and their interlocking relationships, I do wish that more could have been done with the unique setting in which they are placed. Granted, it is a time and place which I know very little about, and I’m also unsure as to whether I would even take on an environment so far from anything I ever usually write – or even read – about. However, Turmel clearly has a knowledge of the area, which is explained in the afterword, his vision for the story being cultivated during a meaningful visit to the battle-sites years beforehand. This obvious passion, coupled with his writing talents, should have meant more elaborate imagery– more sights, sounds, smells, colours. When these descriptions are included, they are beautiful and pure: “About half the sun still hung over Acre’s wall bathing it in a golden glow that belied the filthy, fetid and dung heap the city really was” and “we blended into the purple shadows as the sun retired behind the Templar and Hospital houses and tucked into the sea for the night.” These are the images which, for me, really bought the city to life and gave me, as an outsider and a reader, a place in the novel. My only wish is that there were more of them. Nevertheless, Acre’s Bastard is certainly an accomplished piece of fiction. Turmel makes it clear that he is not done with this story, and especially not with the characters themselves. This is great – upon finishing the book, I definitely got a sense that there was more to come, and I am especially intrigued to follow Lucca and his newfound confidence, as well as the other peripheral characters who lurked mysteriously in the dark shadows of Acre.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Helen Hollick

    This book has received a Discovering Diamonds Review: Helen Hollick founder #DDRevs 'Acre’s Bastard endeared itself to me in the way that books did in my childhood.' This book has received a Discovering Diamonds Review: Helen Hollick founder #DDRevs 'Acre’s Bastard endeared itself to me in the way that books did in my childhood.'

  6. 4 out of 5

    Stacie

    OK, I'll admit, I love my romance novels. I don't write many reviews because I have a hard time putting into words "why" I like a book. I either love it, or I don't. Well, I won this with a Goodreads giveaway and know the authors/publishers do the giveaways in hopes of feedback, so here goes... I LOVED THIS. Not my typical genre, but I couldn't put it down. I'll let the other reviews fill in the details of "why" it is so great (I agree with them all). But, my input... Even if this isn't your typ OK, I'll admit, I love my romance novels. I don't write many reviews because I have a hard time putting into words "why" I like a book. I either love it, or I don't. Well, I won this with a Goodreads giveaway and know the authors/publishers do the giveaways in hopes of feedback, so here goes... I LOVED THIS. Not my typical genre, but I couldn't put it down. I'll let the other reviews fill in the details of "why" it is so great (I agree with them all). But, my input... Even if this isn't your typical genre, give it a try -- you WON'T be disappointed!

  7. 4 out of 5

    Paula Lofting

    Review to be posted soon

  8. 4 out of 5

    ChillwithabookAWARD With

    Acre's Bastard has been awarded with a Chill with a Book READERS's Award and a PB Special Award. www.chillwithabook.com Acre's Bastard has been awarded with a Chill with a Book READERS's Award and a PB Special Award. www.chillwithabook.com

  9. 5 out of 5

    Tony Duxbury

    An excellent adventure story. Lucca is a mixed race orphan and a ward of the Hospitallers. Life is hard for Lucca, mainly because of his boisterous spirit and fast mouth. He is an obnoxious little bastard, that makes your hand twitch with the desire to clip him around the ear. He's street smart and sharp-tongued and his adventures come to the notice of a spymaster. Set against the background of Acre after the First Crusade the story is seen through the eyes of a young boy. Unwittingly, he is rec An excellent adventure story. Lucca is a mixed race orphan and a ward of the Hospitallers. Life is hard for Lucca, mainly because of his boisterous spirit and fast mouth. He is an obnoxious little bastard, that makes your hand twitch with the desire to clip him around the ear. He's street smart and sharp-tongued and his adventures come to the notice of a spymaster. Set against the background of Acre after the First Crusade the story is seen through the eyes of a young boy. Unwittingly, he is recruited and trained as a spy for the Christians. Captured by Saladin's own spy network, he witnesses the horrors of medieval warfare. In the end, he finds a home and a family of sorts. This is a great story and I would recommend the book to anyone who loves adventure , whether historical or not.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Jean Roberts

    Acre's Bastard by Wayne Turmel. Published by Achis Press 2018 (2nd Ed.) 298 pages. I purchased this book from Amazon.com in e-book format. It is also available in paperback. The opinions contained in this review are my own. The Plot in brief: Acre's Bastard is the tale of 10-year-old Lucca Le Pou, an orphan boy who lives with a foot in two worlds. His father was a Frankish knight, his mother a Syrian Muslim. The year is 1187 and the Christian's have a tenuous hold on the Holy Land. Lucca is cared Acre's Bastard by Wayne Turmel. Published by Achis Press 2018 (2nd Ed.) 298 pages. I purchased this book from Amazon.com in e-book format. It is also available in paperback. The opinions contained in this review are my own. The Plot in brief: Acre's Bastard is the tale of 10-year-old Lucca Le Pou, an orphan boy who lives with a foot in two worlds. His father was a Frankish knight, his mother a Syrian Muslim. The year is 1187 and the Christian's have a tenuous hold on the Holy Land. Lucca is cared for by the monastic military order known as the Order of the Knights of St. John, or the Hospitallers for short. A spunky mischievous boy, he leads a band of like-minded ragamuffins through the raucous streets of Acre. Lucca's life takes a dramatic turn when he is taken in by a mysterious man he knows as Marco, a knight from the Order of St. Lazarus. Together their adventures take a serious turn as Saladin the great Muslim leader threatens the Christians hold on Acre and Jerusalem. The Characters: I don't normally read books whose main character is a child. I have to admit, Lucca sucked me in within a few pages. Lucca is smart, plucky, observant, brave and a survivor, but at his core he is still a child with a child's need for love and protection. His character is well drawn and believable. He remains true to character throughout the book. Lucca's buddies are multi-dimensional and endearing each in their own way. Marco, the mysterious Knight of Lazarus remained a mystery to me, I am still not sure of his motives, but I found myself cheering him on. The History It is clear from the start that Wayne Turmel knows his history. I felt completely immersed in the 12th century. From the dusty hot streets of Acre to the luxurious tent of Count Raymond of Tripoli to the desert scene of the Battle of Hattin, I felt I was present in the book, looking through Lucca's eyes at his chaotic world. I never felt that anything was off or had one of those 'that never happened' moments. As a lover of history, it was a joy to read. The Writing I thought the book was very well written; kudos to his proof readers and editor. The pacing fit the story perfectly, zipping along, never dragging. The action was almost nonstop, and I was never bored or tempted to skip ahead. The dialogue was believable, written without a forced vernacular. Conclusion The book is a great read for lovers of history, lovers of action stories and those who enjoy a more youthful main character. No previous knowledge of the Crusades required! I highly recommend Acre's Bastard and give it five stars! I look forward to reading Part 2 of Lucca's story, Acre's Orphans also available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble and Chapters.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Greg Seeley

    Acre's Bastard - A Middle Ages Spy Thriller As a lifelong student of history, I have never considered the era of the Crusades to be my particular period of interest. That said, I found Wayne Turmel’s novel, Acre’s Bastard, to be a thoroughly engaging and enjoyable read. Mr. Turmel first captured my attention with his earlier work, The Count of the Sahara, so I knew I have to give this book a try. I was not disappointed. I hesitate to use the term “coming of age novel” because the phrase seems to b Acre's Bastard - A Middle Ages Spy Thriller As a lifelong student of history, I have never considered the era of the Crusades to be my particular period of interest. That said, I found Wayne Turmel’s novel, Acre’s Bastard, to be a thoroughly engaging and enjoyable read. Mr. Turmel first captured my attention with his earlier work, The Count of the Sahara, so I knew I have to give this book a try. I was not disappointed. I hesitate to use the term “coming of age novel” because the phrase seems to be employed so often as to become a cliché. The basic premise, however, is there. Lucca, ten years old at the beginning of the story, is already streetwise beyond his tender age and has mostly missed what resembles a childhood. In the year 1187, near the end of the Second Crusade and the fight against Saladin, he is forced by circumstances, to learn the ways of a seamy and violent world far too early. Turmel weaves Lucca’s story against a well-researched background where Hospitaliers and the Knights Templar engage the Mohammedans in a life-and death struggle for what is now Syria and Israel. The plot contains all of the elements of a modern-day spy thriller set in a time and place largely unfamiliar to most of today’s readers of the genre. I congratulate Wayne Turmel on this excellent work and look forward to Lucca’s next adventure. My only regret about this book is that, due to other obligations, I was forced to read it a few segments at a time separated by periods where I had to lay it aside. I mean to re-read it a later date without the interruptions. I rate the book five stars. Turmel has written this novel for adult audiences but this reader also recommends it for mature young adults.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Phillip Sturgeon

    WOW! I'm not a person who reads much historical fiction, but this book came highly recommended and did not disappoint. Full of tension, comedy, and edifying perspective, it's a coming of age story turned into suspenseful espionage in an unknown (or rarely visited) world. Told from the perspective of a street smart orphan, what starts out with the funny hijinks of young boys plummets into the gruesome and difficult realities of growing up in the late twelfth century Holy Land. (Summary at the End) M WOW! I'm not a person who reads much historical fiction, but this book came highly recommended and did not disappoint. Full of tension, comedy, and edifying perspective, it's a coming of age story turned into suspenseful espionage in an unknown (or rarely visited) world. Told from the perspective of a street smart orphan, what starts out with the funny hijinks of young boys plummets into the gruesome and difficult realities of growing up in the late twelfth century Holy Land. (Summary at the End) My thoughts/takeaway: Liked: Lucca's group of friends are rambunctious enough to get into trouble as boys do, it reminded me of the Little Rascals or the Sandlot gang. The setting was initially somewhat foreign and obscure to me, but the story is told through Lucca's perspective and the context was made completely accessible. It was an eye opening experience into the past. The struggle in the larger story of war between Muslims and Christian Crusaders holds excellent depth. Personalized to show the overarching impact war has on a person's life--not just the one, but many--comes into play as he is forced to ask tough questions in ugly situations. Life demands he go beyond "normal" safe situations. Didn't like: Some of his friends show up only once or twice. In general, there were a few too many names to keep track of. While it wasn't too confusing, it could've benefitted from less mention/interactions with secondary/minor characters. There was some punctuation missed, but this was trivial. LOVED: I found this book very humanizing (especially as Lucca watches the battle). While he comes from a "Christian" background and is taken hostage by "Muslims," the story doesn't paint a picture or try to sway in favor of one group over the other. It's so refreshing to have a story set amongst controversial topics without having it be preachy or have my head beat down by an author's POV. There are so many soap boxes nowadays! However, as I reflect on it, the story naturally forced me to look at motivations differently--which is part of great storytelling. There is a true moral compass in play with how orphans/children are treated and cared for, how we treat those who look different because of skin color or physical ailment/disease, and how people with opposing beliefs (or opposite sides of the aisle) tend to demonize each other. Whether religious conviction, race, assertion of land, or the hunt for commodities, everyone thinks they're right when going to war. Yet, the cost is the same, regardless of which side you're on. It takes people to fight in battles and slaughter is inevitable. People are people are people. Life is lost. And when you get into the dangers Lucca faces as a kid in Acre, I felt close to him. He's an empathetic and innocent character. His life sucks. He isn't perfect, but he's three dimensional, and someone to root for as you watch gritty aspects of adult life unfold before his eyes. I really appreciated the ending, especially, because it felt realistic and true to the scenario. A fairytale "fun for the whole family" ending would've ruined this book. Lucca's awareness of the world expands immensely. It's all part of growing up, but it takes a toll, nonetheless. There is much more to be said of the heaviness in all he experiences, but in this case the story speaks for itself(a much better job than I can do--just read it!). Lastly, I think my favorite part was the leper colony. I'd love to see more of it. Context /Summary (story, minor spoilers): During the war for the Kingdom of Jerusalem (1187 AD): Lucca le Pou, a ten year old orphan, lives at the Hospitaller charter house (Hospital of the Order of St. John) in the city of Acre. Part Syrian, part French, his bastardized past and unknown parentage are always present, given his uniquely dark skin with bright green eyes. His appearance confuses both Muslims and Christians, leading him to feel unwanted and out of place. Acre is a viciously corrupt port city under Christian (~Catholic) rule after the First Crusade, full of brothels, struggling merchants, orphans, and lepers. The natural harbor makes it of high importance. As well, it's full of Templar and Hospitaller Knights, and the Sultan of Egypt's determination to take back Jerusalem (lost in the First Crusade) has led to a unity of Muslims and an enormous army. After running away from the orphanage, Lucca is befriended by a knight in the order of St. Lazar. Lucca's natural wit and curiosity are put to good use when he joins the knight and uncovers a covert meeting between an informant and spy, and steals an important piece of intelligence. He is soon on the run. Taken captive on the verge of battle, he's left to fend for himself. And what began unintentionally puts Lucca's life at stake and leads him to play a key role at the outset of war, as he watches the clash of armies and their outcome of slaughter. I'd recommend this to people who like suspense, action, and adventure, people interested in history and/or the entanglements of religion, people who like coming of age stories, people who appreciate broader context for world conflict, people who struggle to see through the eyes of a child, and anyone who thinks they know it all.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Cathy Donnelly

    I have been fascinated by the Crusades, and the Knights Templar in particular, for a long time and was looking forward to reading this book. I was not disappointed. Mr Turmel’s skill in entwining a wonderful array of characters with vivid descriptions of their environment, brought his story to life to the degree that I was totally engrossed and engaged. Acre’s Bastard was not just facts and figures about this very crucial period in history, but a living, breathing story that allowed me to clearly I have been fascinated by the Crusades, and the Knights Templar in particular, for a long time and was looking forward to reading this book. I was not disappointed. Mr Turmel’s skill in entwining a wonderful array of characters with vivid descriptions of their environment, brought his story to life to the degree that I was totally engrossed and engaged. Acre’s Bastard was not just facts and figures about this very crucial period in history, but a living, breathing story that allowed me to clearly see the people and events in my head. The pace was perfect and I did not skip a paragraph. I would highly recommend this book not only to those interested in the history of the Templars but to readers who enjoy well written and entertaining historical fiction. I have ordered the second one in the series, Acre’s Orphans, and I sure Mr Turmel will not disappoint.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Wayne Ng

    More too often, historical fiction trips itself up. It sinks into pedantic details, gets swallowed whole by the research, takes itself too seriously and becomes bloated. Acre’s Bastard is a shining exception, written with an accessible and contemporary voice and tuned to the modern reader. At times it does trip itself with modern cliches, but we never really forget where we are, and more importantly, we don’t lose sight of the engines of the stories---our alluring protagonist the mixed race boy More too often, historical fiction trips itself up. It sinks into pedantic details, gets swallowed whole by the research, takes itself too seriously and becomes bloated. Acre’s Bastard is a shining exception, written with an accessible and contemporary voice and tuned to the modern reader. At times it does trip itself with modern cliches, but we never really forget where we are, and more importantly, we don’t lose sight of the engines of the stories---our alluring protagonist the mixed race boy Lucca le Pou, and the richness of the Holy Lands during the invasion of the Crusaders. Lucca is a survivor. Escape is his middle name. But even he can’t escape the layered conflict, the intrigue, the politics and the inevitability of the folly of the Crusaders. Turmel moves this along deftly, always with an eye on movement and action. Building towards the pivotal battle of Hattin between the Crusaders and the forces of Salah ah Din, Acre’s Bastard is a quick read. Ending after the battle, the book is inconclusive. No problem, just read the sequel, really the next chapter, Acre’s Orphans. So I did. (Separate review to follow). While I already had a trip to the middle east planned, these novels added richness, historical context and appreciation of that part of the world and the tumult that still shadows it. A solid four.seven five, an easy round up to five.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Phyllis H. Pajka

    This is a book about the Crusades and a 10 year old orphan (Lucas) tells his view of the story. Lucas runs away from the orphanage and lives on the streets of Acre and is found by a man who takes him in. He goes on so many adventures with the Knights and Templar's and these are his tales of all that happens to him in his travels. I did enjoy reading this book and if you have any interest in the Crusades, this is the book for you. I am now starting book 2 which is called Acre's Orphans and I hope This is a book about the Crusades and a 10 year old orphan (Lucas) tells his view of the story. Lucas runs away from the orphanage and lives on the streets of Acre and is found by a man who takes him in. He goes on so many adventures with the Knights and Templar's and these are his tales of all that happens to him in his travels. I did enjoy reading this book and if you have any interest in the Crusades, this is the book for you. I am now starting book 2 which is called Acre's Orphans and I hope it is just as good. Acre, by the way, is the city Lucas lived in and it is a walled city.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Morgan Wade

    Acre's Bastard is a fascinating look at the events and people trying to survive and thrive in the chaos of 1100's Levant. It's not a period or place that I have seen depicted in very many fictional accounts so it makes an intriguing backdrop to this exciting tale. Largely following the exploits of one urchin through the hectic streets of Acre and describing from his perspective the many diverse groups (Frankish knights, Hospitallers, Muslims, spies, lepers, etc..) contending with each other, you Acre's Bastard is a fascinating look at the events and people trying to survive and thrive in the chaos of 1100's Levant. It's not a period or place that I have seen depicted in very many fictional accounts so it makes an intriguing backdrop to this exciting tale. Largely following the exploits of one urchin through the hectic streets of Acre and describing from his perspective the many diverse groups (Frankish knights, Hospitallers, Muslims, spies, lepers, etc..) contending with each other, you get a feel for what it might have been like to actually be there. And, in Lucca, the plucky urchin protagonist of the title, I was reminded of Victor Hugo's ragamuffins in Les Miserables. A very difficult life!

  17. 5 out of 5

    W. Boutwell

    A Kimesque adventure in 11th century Levant. This first installment is a hoot. Lucca the Louse bounces from one crisis to another, finding friends, enemies, and succour where he can. The countryside is so vivid you need to stay hydrated, the smells eye-watering. Quite the most enjoyable book I have read recently.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Susan

    This is a well-written, immersive, eye-opening and entertaining piece of literature. I have been carrying our friend Lucca in my thoughts since I finished it. I'm definitely headed over to the sequel. T This is a well-written, immersive, eye-opening and entertaining piece of literature. I have been carrying our friend Lucca in my thoughts since I finished it. I'm definitely headed over to the sequel. T

  19. 5 out of 5

    Troy Kechely

    This was a wonderful sensory journey into the past. Transported through believable characters and an intriguing plot.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Lynn Sherman

    The perfect anecdote for a sick day. I read it in one sitting and can't wait to read Part 2. The perfect anecdote for a sick day. I read it in one sitting and can't wait to read Part 2.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Clemens Schoonderwoert

    This delightful historical adventure by Wayne Turmel is the 1st part of the Lucca le Pou (Louse) series. While this has been my first acquaintance with this author and his story, I have to admit and say that I thoroughly enjoyed this historical tale, so much so that it really got me gripped right from the start till the very end. At the end of the book you'll find a very nice obligatory concerning this story, and it's there where the author explains in his own fine style the history and reasons be This delightful historical adventure by Wayne Turmel is the 1st part of the Lucca le Pou (Louse) series. While this has been my first acquaintance with this author and his story, I have to admit and say that I thoroughly enjoyed this historical tale, so much so that it really got me gripped right from the start till the very end. At the end of the book you'll find a very nice obligatory concerning this story, and it's there where the author explains in his own fine style the history and reasons behind this exciting historical adventure. Story-telling by this author is of a very good quality, for he has the ability to bring all the characters vividly to life, whether they are real or fictional people, and the book has a wonderful storyline where events and interactions between the characters are described in a fast-paced, picturesque and enjoyable fashion. The story is set in the year AD 1187, a couple of years before the official start of the 3rd big Crusade, which is AD 1189-1192, and we find ourselves in Acre, the home of our main character Lucca and the home and base of the Crusaders with the Templars, Hospitallers and the House of St Lazar, while in Jerusalem Salah-adin Saracen forces are in control within the Holy Land. The actual tale begins fast enough with Lucca and his friends looking for naked girls, when Lucca playfully visits a brothel, while noticed by a certain beggar Brother Marco, and for that visit gets brutally punished by Brother Idoneus at the Charter House of the Hospitallers, but Lucca somehow manages to escape and bring injury to that same Brother Idoneus, before being scooped up again by Brother Marco and brought to the Order of St Lazar. It's from that same Brother Marco that 10-year-old Lucca learns the art and trade of spying, and while discovering some secret on his own, Lucca sets out with Brother Marco as protection on a dangerous mission to retrieve a scroll containing important information for the Saracen enemy. This spying mission will lead that Lucca is a wanted person as a spy, first for Count Raymond of Tripoli and later after his abduction by al Sameen/al Jasus/Nurad al Fatin, who's Salah-adin's spymaster, when Lucca is held prisoner in Baisan, the military camp of Salah-adin. What will follow is a fascinating thrilling adventure in which Lucca during the Battle of Hattin manages to get rid of that fat man of a spymaster, al Sameen, and after that Battle will finally return home with some friends in a caravan back to Acre. And finally what this story also wonderfully shows is the fact that now around a thousand years later in history the inability to respect and tolerate each other's religion or believe is still occurring, so much so that we're still fighting Wars over it. I for certain hope that at least a sequel will follow this tale because this series has in my view absolutely great potential, so come on Wayne Turmel do your best and give us some more fascinating Lucca tales. Very highly recommended, for this book is a great start of this series and that's why I call this one: "Lucca's First Exciting Spying Crusade"!

  22. 4 out of 5

    Mariah Feria

    The Crusades, religious corruption, and complex communities: Wayne Turmel confronts it all in his newest series, The Lucca le Pou Stories, of which the delicately written Acre’s Bastard is the first instalment of the series. In it, we are introduced to the famed city of Acre, to the half-Syrian, half-Frankish orphan Lucca, and his colourful collective of friends and enemies. The tensions of the time are well conveyed, but so too is this unbreakable sense of community and togetherness, which many The Crusades, religious corruption, and complex communities: Wayne Turmel confronts it all in his newest series, The Lucca le Pou Stories, of which the delicately written Acre’s Bastard is the first instalment of the series. In it, we are introduced to the famed city of Acre, to the half-Syrian, half-Frankish orphan Lucca, and his colourful collective of friends and enemies. The tensions of the time are well conveyed, but so too is this unbreakable sense of community and togetherness, which many traditional history books fail to deliver to their readers. By creating his own world with his own fully-formed characters, Turmel brings that faraway (and often inconceivable) time to life. Full review here: https://storgy.com/2019/05/07/book-re...

  23. 4 out of 5

    Pamela Allegretto

    I have been a fan of Wayne Turmel’s writing, and in this book, he didn’t disappoint. Wayne Turmel has penned a well-written, well-researched historical fiction. The interesting and complex characters range from lovable to likeable to detestable; none are boring. The book is an entertaining and informative page-turned.

  24. 5 out of 5

    ELLEN SHAPPE

    I AM EIGHTY YEARS OF AGE AND HAVE LOVED TO READ FOR AS LONG AS I CAN REMEMBER. ACRE'S BASTARD" WAS ONE OF THE MOST FUN BOOKS I HAVE EVER READ. COULD NOT PUT IT DOWN. FOR THOSE OF US WITH CHILDREN OR GRAND CHILDREN YOU CAN RELATE TO THE MAIN CHARACTER "LUCCA" CAN'T WAIT TO READ THE SEQUAL. I AM EIGHTY YEARS OF AGE AND HAVE LOVED TO READ FOR AS LONG AS I CAN REMEMBER. ACRE'S BASTARD" WAS ONE OF THE MOST FUN BOOKS I HAVE EVER READ. COULD NOT PUT IT DOWN. FOR THOSE OF US WITH CHILDREN OR GRAND CHILDREN YOU CAN RELATE TO THE MAIN CHARACTER "LUCCA" CAN'T WAIT TO READ THE SEQUAL.

  25. 5 out of 5

    S.E. Morgan

    Excellent Felt I was living in crusader controlled Acre while I read the novel Really well written page turner. Interesting take on the Holy wars

  26. 4 out of 5

    Wayne Turmel

  27. 5 out of 5

    Rogine Battel

  28. 5 out of 5

    R.G. Ziemer

    “Can one lone boy,” asks author Wayne Turmel, “save the Crusader Kingdom from disaster at the Horns of Hattin?” I won’t give away the ending of Acre’s Bastard, but I will point out that Crusader kingdoms haven’t been popular in the Middle East for quite a few years. No matter the extent of your knowledge of history, you’ll find this exciting historical novel keeps you guessing all the way through. In the year 1187, Lucca le Pou – the Louse – is an urchin with the run of the narrow and twisting st “Can one lone boy,” asks author Wayne Turmel, “save the Crusader Kingdom from disaster at the Horns of Hattin?” I won’t give away the ending of Acre’s Bastard, but I will point out that Crusader kingdoms haven’t been popular in the Middle East for quite a few years. No matter the extent of your knowledge of history, you’ll find this exciting historical novel keeps you guessing all the way through. In the year 1187, Lucca le Pou – the Louse – is an urchin with the run of the narrow and twisting streets of Acre, the ancient city on the Mediterranean Sea and principal port of the Crusader Knights who rule the land. But the times they are a-changing, and Lucca is right in the middle of it all. His ability to blend in and his knowledge of the back alleys makes Lucca a vital conduit of information for the Monastic Knights and Hospitalers as they anticipate a major confrontation with their powerful enemy, Saladin. Author Turmel paints a vivid picture of the teeming city with its crowds and caravans, colorful markets and polyglot babble. His characters are also drawn in three dimensions: Brother Marco the leper, fanatical Brother Idoneous, and of course the hapless but sometimes adventurous Lucca himself. You don’t have to be interested in the time period or tales of the Holy Land to get caught up in this fast-paced story. You may be excused though for inadvertently gaining some vital understanding of the time and the place. And it’s not a kid’s book – Turmel styles it as “Kipling’s Kim for a new generation.” It’s gritty as the sand in your drawers and thick with the stench of camels and army camps -- Bloody when it needs to be, but not without humor and surprise. And you may just discover it’s your own spotlight of insight into the past of that troubled land.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Lou Holly

  30. 4 out of 5

    Sharon

  31. 5 out of 5

    Wanda Maynard

  32. 4 out of 5

    Anthony Whitt

  33. 4 out of 5

    J.R.

  34. 5 out of 5

    Sara

  35. 4 out of 5

    A. Roy King

  36. 5 out of 5

    Leslie Smith

  37. 4 out of 5

    Liz Holly

  38. 5 out of 5

    Don Kean

  39. 4 out of 5

    Troy Kechely

  40. 5 out of 5

    Becca

  41. 5 out of 5

    Lou Holly

  42. 5 out of 5

    Lynn Vasquez

  43. 4 out of 5

    Alaric the King

  44. 4 out of 5

    Marisa Eikenberry

  45. 4 out of 5

    Lou Holly

  46. 4 out of 5

    Angel

  47. 4 out of 5

    Millie Thom

  48. 4 out of 5

    Assaph Mehr

  49. 5 out of 5

    Paul

  50. 4 out of 5

    Kyle Brackman

  51. 5 out of 5

    Amy

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