Crusade in Jeans by Thea Beckman
What is it about:
Rudolf Hefting of Amsterdam thought he was engaged in an experiment that would take him back to the Middle Ages to a tournament of knights. But by a miscalculation of the computer, he arrives in the Rhineland at the exact time that the Children's Crusade is passing through. A stranded traveler in time, Rudolf joins the immense children's army -- almost 10,000 strong. With Rudolf, the reader struggles to understand how it was possible that children between the ages of 6 and 15 thought they could travel across Europe, then cross the sea to drive away the Saracens from the Holy Land. They had no weapons, transportation, or money; they experienced hunger, epidemics, and death. The dreadful conditions he encounters compel him to use his 20th-century knowledge to try to create order out of chaos. In spite of himself, he becomes a leader and organizer. And along the way he also experiences loyal friendships, courage, and devotion to God.
What did I think of it:
I love this book! First of all there's plenty of action and a great, suspenseful story. It's very well written too, at least the original, Dutch version, I haven't read the English version I must confess. But the best thing is the interaction between all the characters. There are characters that you can love, hate, feel pity for, have double feelings about, you name it. Even though it's set in the Middle Ages the way people act in this story is timeless and very recognisable and I can read this book again and again. (I just have to name my favourite character: Dom Thaddeus, a monk who leaves his convent to joins the crusade to help the children on their perilous journey.) It's a pity that so far this is the only book by Thea Beckman that's been translated to English (as far as I know) as her books are all wonderful!
Why should you read it:
If you like historical fiction and YA/teen books, you will love this book.
(Don't watch the movie if you like this book. The only good thing about the movie in my opinion was the ending.)