Shadows on a Sword


195 pages
Contains Maps
ISBN 0-00-648108-6
DDC j813'.54




Reviewed by Dave Jenkinson

Dave Jenkinson is a professor in the Faculty of Education at the University of Manitoba and the author of the “Portraits” section of Emergency Librarian.


This companion volume to There Will Be Wolves, which used the People’s
Crusade of 1096 as its backdrop, introduces an entirely new set of
individuals who are participants in the First Crusade to liberate
Jerusalem. The book’s central character is a freshly minted knight,
17-year-old Theo. Prior to going into battle, Theo imagines war to be
magnificent and glorious; having liberated Jerusalem following three
years of bloody conflict, a much-changed Theo is ready to leave his
twisted, notched sword “propped in the shadows.”

The author provides a strong supporting cast in Emma, a feisty,
independent young woman who chafes at the fact that women cannot go to
war and disguises herself as a boy, becoming Theo’s groom and romantic
interest; Amalric, Theo’s best friend and fellow knight, who finds the
adrenaline rush of battle addictive and peace suffocatingly boring; and
another knight, the villainous Guy. Bradford even brings Theo’s loyal
war horse, Centurion, alive to readers.

An introductory map supplies readers with an overview of the
Crusade’s entire route, from Bouillon to Jerusalem, while each chapter
opens with an appropriate map segment. Superbly written and
action-filled, Shadows on a Sword is a prime example of superior
historical fiction. Highly recommended.


Bradford, Karleen., “Shadows on a Sword,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed May 30, 2024,