From School Library Journal
Grade 9 Up—Faced with an arranged marriage to a senile old man as punishment for her rebellious ways, orphaned 16-year-old Babylonne escapes the clutches of her maternal aunt and heads out on her own. Although she is now disguised as a boy, Father Isadore recognizes her and claims to have known her biological father. She has no choice but to trust the priest. The two begin a journey through the treacherous 13th-century French countryside that turns into a pilgrimage for Babylonne, who comes to know about her deceased parents, her quiet traveling companion, and herself. While readers do learn something about life during the Middle Ages (e.g., the feudal system, struggle between religious factions, lack of power for women), the novel's strength is in its characters. The pacing is slow, but the story serves to introduce and develop the protagonist and the priest in anticipation of future books. Much of the discussion about religion will be lost on teens, but they will find Babylonne's (sometimes vulgar) inner dialogue hilarious. Fans of Jinks's Pagan Kidrouk, featured in four earlier novels, will enjoy this story.—Wendy Scalfaro, G. Ray Bodley High School Library, Fulton, NY
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Jinks continues her cycle of excellent historical novels. In this fifth volume, she introduces Babylonne, the out-of-wedlock daughter of her previous protagonist Pagan Kidrouk, the Christian Arab who has become Archdeacon of Carcassonne. The year is now 1227 and a desperate Babylonne is on the run from her grandmother, who plans to marry her off to an old man. Worse, the 16-year-old—a Cathar by religion—is terrified of the seemingly sinister Roman Catholic priest who is following her. Jinks’ fans will welcome this latest adventure, which culminates in a blood-curdling reenactment of the Siege of La Becede. Grades 8-12. --Michael Cart