"I'm almost thirteen...and still as puny, sickly and as pale as milk. A few people say being tiny and white as an angel is a good omen, but far more say I'm evil,that I was the cause of that plague and that they see the devil in my eyes. If they do, I didn't put him there. I'm no devil. Nor am I a tiny angel. Underneath my odd looking outside, I'm just me, Adrian. A boy - well almost a man. They'll see.
Adrian doesn't get much respect in his English village. He's motherless. He's bullied, but feisty and he's excellent with a bow and arrow. The Scots are about to invade England and the men of the village are preparing to go to battle. No one thinks Adrian is capable of fighting so he will be left behind.
After the men leave, Adrian waits for his opportunity and sneaks away from the village to join the battle. Thus begins an adventure in which he runs into one bad character and one mishap after another. But Adrian is as clever as he is feisty and his quick mind, his lying tongue, and masterful archery skills rescue him from countless events.
He does eventually arrive at the battlefield where his romanticized notions of war are quickly dashed as are his notions about the enemy. Here are a few of Adrian's conclusions.
The book ends with Adrian planning to take care of some unfinished business so I'm guessing there's a sequel on the way. Readers who love action, adventure and a scrappy character will be glad of it.
Kathy Erskine is the author of Quaking, Mockingbird, The Absolute Value of Mike, and Seeing Red.