Robin drew the coverlet close about his head and turned his face to the wall. He covered his ears and shut his eyes, for the sound of the bells was deafening. All the bells of London were ringing the hour of Nones. St. Mary le Bow was nearest, St. Swithin's was close by, and not far away stood great St. Paul's. There were half-a-dozen others within soun, each clamoring to be heard. It seemed to Robin as if they were all inside his head screaming to be let out. Tears of vexation started to his eyes, but he held them back, for he remembered that a brave and "gentil" knight does not cry.
This is my first time reading this Newbery winner. It's not a title I would have been drawn to as a kid, much like Adam of the Road, but I am glad I read it as an adult.
Robin, our hero, is all alone. His father is fighting in a war; his mother called to serve the queen. He was supposed to become a page and begin his training to be a knight, but, an illness left him weak, unable to stand or walk. A compassionate monk, Brother Luke, saves him from an uncertain (at best) fate--for his caretaker, his nurse, falls ill with the plague. Robin begins to heal and begins to learn. He learns to read and write. He is strengthened by swimming. And then there's the whittling. (Exciting stuff.) The book chronicles his journey through these dark and sometimes dangerous times. Readers get a glimpse of the Middle Ages.
The Door in the Wall is a pleasant enough read. While I didn't find it the most thrilling book ever, not even the most thrilling book ever set during the Middle Ages, I didn't find it painful either. There are worse ways to spend an afternoon.
You might also be interested in: Adam of the Road, Crispin: The Cross of Lead, Crispin: At The Edge of the World, Crispin: The End of Time. Not to mention Good Masters! Sweet Ladies! Voices from a Medieval Village by Laura Amy Schiltz.
© 2011 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews