To Shine With Honor: Coming of Age is the first of a trilogy, written by Scott Amis.
Galien de Coudre, scholarly third son in a family of minor nobility, comes of age in the perilous world of late 11th century France, where powerful noblemen massacre the other and innocents in unending petty warfare over lands and silver, despite the efforts of the Church to control their violence.
Galien, educated for the priesthood, trained at arms and horse by his father and older brothers, all knights, finds his once-certain future as a high Church official compromised by family misfortunes. Through a series of wrenching events, he discovers his own destiny as events in France and the distant Holy Land draw inexorably toward the great war of faiths known in history as the First Crusade.
I really enjoyed To Shine With Honor. Scott brought the characters to life. His portrayal of French culture in the late 11th century was accurate. The male characters, who were mostly all knights as was the case in those days, upheld the ideals of chivalry as presented by the Catholic Church of the time. At the same time, when necessity compelled, they were ruthless. Scott did a very good job maintaining that balance with his characters. Though, I did feel that some scenes that could have made this story even stronger if they would have been extended, ended rather abruptly. There were some terminology, for example; the word ‘Architect’ that didn’t exist in the late 11th century. The word didn’t come into being until the 16th century. Other than those minor things, To Shine With Honor was a good read and I recommend it to anyone who is interested in the Middle Ages and who wants to learn more about pre-Crusade France.