Hey, young readers

An epic tale, full of bravery, loyalty and betrayal from the days of yore in Christendom has been brought to life only a few miles from here. A stone’s throw over the county-line in Lapeer, author Michael P. Spradlin has created a wonderful yarn for young readers to get lost in — The Youngest Templar series.
Book two, the Trail of Fate, is out just in time for holiday gift giving. Continuing the saga of our hero, young squire Tristan and his mission of protecting the Holy Grail from rogue Templar knights and unsavory royals.
While I am not a young reader, I am a young-at-heart reader. I enjoyed book number one, Keeper of Grail, last summer when my son brought it home from his school’s book fair. As a matter of course, I try to read the books my sons, Shamus and Sean, read. This practice has led me into the world’s of Harry Potter and Percy Jackson, to name a few.
The Youngest Templar series is smart, fast-paced with well-thought out characters and keenly executed plots — a must for good fiction, sometimes lacking in books for young readers.
In the first person, the Youngest Templar series follows the life of Tristan, left orphaned on the steps of St. Alban’s Abbey, England during the Dark Ages. After 15 years with the abbey’s monks, Tristan is apprenticed to Sir Thomas, of the Knights Templar. Through battles on the continent during the Crusades, Tristan follows Sir Thomas until the knight, knowing his life will soon ends, tells Tristan, ? . . .What you carry is the rarest thing left in this world, and men will kill for it without thinking twice. Trust no one. Not even another Templar. I have seen what possession of this thing can do to men. It has turned even my brothers of this Temple into glory-crazed hounds. It must not ever leave your side until you reach Rosslyn . . .?
In the Trails of Fate, Tristan is washed ashore, separated from his friends, and alone on a southern shore off the coast of France. What ensues is a cat and mouse adventure, pitting Tristan against his arch enemy, Sir Hugh, as the former desperately tries to keep the Grail out of the latter’s possession.
I enjoyed the Trails of Fate, as I did Keeper of the Grail. But, what about young readers? What’s their opinion? I asked this of my son Sean (an advanced reader in the fourth grade). Here’s what he wrote:
‘Good characters. A lot of exciting moments. Action-packed, wicked settings and sizzling sword play, all in one book.?
I think Sean wants my job.
The books is targeted to readers from 8 to early teens.
* * *
Spradlin also recently released a fun little stocking stuffer called, It’s Beginning To Look a Lot Like Zombies! This 81-paged, book is full of Zombie Christmas Carols (song to the tune of traditional ones we all know and love.).
Think of it this way, ‘He ate Dasher, then Dancer . . .? Well, you get the idea. Each ‘carol? comes with illustrations by Jeff Weigel.
The books are available at Borders, Barnes & Noble, the Lapeer Book Shelf; thru on-line booksellers as well as www.michaelspradlin.com
Spradlin, who has wrote ‘professionally? for about 12 years, expects to publish the third book in the Youngest Templar series next year, as well as two picture books.