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True Medieval

durham cathedral illuminated manuscript

The last book I checked out from the library before it’s temporary closure was a copy of Murder at Midnight by Avi.  I had just started reading a paperback copy of Midnight Magic by Avi at home and I like to keep track of my reading with Goodreads. When I added this title, it informed that it was book #2…..  So I stopped reading and placed a hold for the first title on the library website. I like to read my books in order.

Midnight Magic #1

Murder at Midnight 2009

Midnight Magic #2

Midnight Magic 1999

Murder at Midnight Avi Midnight Magic Avi

Now, Midnight magic was published in 1999, and Murder at Midnight wasn’t published until 2009.  Chronologically, Murder at Midnight comes first.  The two books can be read separately and are independent of each other, but I didn’t know that at the time. The main character is an orphaned street urchin and the setting is Italy during the 1490’s. Both books were wonderful! 

One I’ve logged in to place one hold, I usually end up placing a lot more holds.  What else could I request by Avi?  The Dundee Library had a copy of “The Cross of Lead” (newberry award winner) on the shelf, so I requested that too.  After finishing the Midnight Magic duology, I immediately turned to “Cross of Lead” and began my immersion into 14th century medieval England.


The Cross of Lead

At the Edge of the World

The End of Time

crispin the cross of lead avi crispin at the edge of the world avi crispin at the edge of time avi


I have always loved historical adventures and mysteries, especially from the medieval period (beginning just after the fall of Rome and ending before the start of the renaissance) . As a young teen, my favorite book from this time period was “Captives of Time” by Malcolm Bosse. 

captives of time malcolm bosse

Imagine how thrilled I was as an adult when I came across a copy in a used bookstore, especially since I didn’t actually remember the title.  Re-reading it as an adult, I enjoyed it just as much as I remembered.  Nowadays, there are LOTS of books and lengthy sagas available with a medieval flavor, but most have elements of magic and high fantasy thrown in, or focus solely on the lives and court of well known kings and queens. 

With my goal clear, TRUE MEDIEVAL, I set forth to sift through the thousands of titles that come up on OverDrive and Axis360 under the broad terms of historical fiction.  After 4 hours of digital panning, here are the nuggets of gold I found appropriate for 6th grade and up.


the wicked and the just coats

The Wicked and the Just by J. Anderson Coats

Cecily longs to return to her beloved Edgeley Hall, where her father was lord of the manor.  He is moving them to Caernarvon, in occupied Wales, where he can get a place for almost nothing, since the king needs good strong Englishmen to keep down the vicious Welshmen. Gwenhwyfar knows all about that house. Once she dreamed of being the lady there herself, until the English came and destroyed the lives of everyone she knows. Now Gwenhwyfar must wait hand and foot on this bratty English girl who has taken what should have been hers.  While Cecily struggles to find her place amongst the snobby English landowners, Gwenhwyfar struggles just to survive. And meanwhile the Welsh are not as conquered as they seem.


will in scarlet cody

Overdrive eBook

Overdrive Audiobook

Axis 360 eBook

Axis 360 Audiobook

Will in Scarlet by Matthew Cody

Will Shackley is the son of a lord, and though just thirteen, he's led a charmed, protected life and is the heir to Shackley House, while his father is away on the Third Crusade with King Richard the Lionheart.

But with King Richard's absence, the winds of treason are blowing across England, and soon Shackley House becomes caught up in a dangerous power struggle that drives Will out of the only home he's ever known. Alone, he flees into the dangerous Sherwood Forest, where he joins an elusive gang of bandits readers will immediately recognize.


blood red horse grant

Blood Red Horse by K. M. Grant

You need three things to become a brave and noble knight: A warhorse. A fair maiden. A just cause. Will has a horse-a small chestnut stallion with a white blaze in his brow. Ellie is a fair maiden, but she's supposed to marry Will's older brother, Gavin. And as for the cause, King Richard is calling for a Crusade. The Knights of England must go to the Holy Land to fight. Will and Gavin will go. Blood will be shed. Lives will be taken. But through it all, there is a blood-red horse called Hosanna. . . .


the boy book murdock


OverDrive eBook

Axis 360 eBook

The Book Of Boy by Catherine Gilbert Murdock

A Newbery Honor Book * Booklist Editors' Choice * BookPage Best Books * Chicago Public Library Best Fiction * Horn Book Fanfare * Kirkus Reviews Best Books * Publishers Weekly Best Books * Wall Street Journal Best of the Year * An ALA Notable Book

Boy has always been relegated to the outskirts of his small village. With a hump on his back, a mysterious past, and a tendency to talk to animals, he is often mocked by others in his town—until the arrival of a shadowy pilgrim named Secondus. Impressed with Boy's climbing and jumping abilities, Secondus engages Boy as his servant, pulling him into an action-packed and suspenseful expedition across Europe to gather seven precious relics of Saint Peter.  Boy quickly realizes this journey is not an innocent one. They are stealing relics and accumulating dangerous enemies in the process. But Boy is determined to see this pilgrimage through until the end—for what if St. Peter has the power to make him the same as the other boys?


the inquisitors tale gidwitz

OverDrive eBook

OverDrive Audiobook

Axis 360 eBook

Axis 360 Audiobook

The Inquisitor’s Tale by Adam Gidwitz

1242. On a dark night, travelers from across France cross paths at an inn and begin to tell stories of three children. Their adventures take them on a chase through France: they are taken captive by knights, sit alongside a king, and save the land from a farting dragon. On the run to escape prejudice and persecution and save precious and holy texts from being burned, their quest drives them forward to a final showdown at Mont Saint-Michel, where all will come to question if these children can perform the miracles of saints.
Join William, an oblate on a mission from his monastery; Jacob, a Jewish boy who has fled his burning village; and Jeanne, a peasant girl who hides her prophetic visions. They are accompanied by Jeanne's loyal greyhound, Gwenforte . . . recently brought back from the dead. Told in multiple voices, in a style reminiscent of The Canterbury Tales, our narrator collects their stories and the saga of these three unlikely allies begins to come together.


catherine called birdy cushman

Catherine, Called Birdy by Karen Cushman

The thirteen-year-old daughter of an English country knight keeps a journal in which she records the events of her life, particularly her longing for adventures beyond the usual role of women and her efforts to avoid being married off.


midwifes apprentice cushman

The Midwife’s Apprentice by Karen Cushman

In medieval England, a nameless, homeless girl is taken in by a sharp-tempered midwife, and in spite of obstacles and hardship, eventually gains the three things she most wants: a full belly, a contented heart, and a place in this world.