Mysteries get me every time. I love to read them. Have them set in historical times, and you have me completely hooked. G.M. Dyrek has done a great job in weaving history, culture, mystery, and murder together into a story that keeps you hopping. The Seer and the Scribe is a great young readers book for entertaining and learning.
This is a story set back in the time of the Crusades but in an unusual place: a monastery. A young scribe to the Abbott is known for his keen intellect and observation skills. Team that up with a young historical figure, Hildegard, who has visions and can talk to those in the spiritual world and evildoers don’t have a chance. A murder from decades earlier cries out to be solved. Mysterious thefts confuse the monks. Strange illnesses perplex them. As the bodies begin to number, they are determined to get to the truth of the matter. As they solve the murders, they begin to solve all the other mysteries that have arisen to haunt the once peaceful abbey.
To me this book began a little slow, but as it picked up speed I realized how the author was pulling the characters together for me as the reader and revealing their backgrounds which would become very important as the story unfolded. It was only after Hildegard arrives for her “marriage” ceremony to the Church that it really gets interesting. All the players in the mystery begin to arrive on the scene if they weren’t there already plotting.
I have to admit that once the action began, I really had a hard time putting it down even if it was written for young readers. It was never extremely predictable which is good when I read a mystery. Figuring it out too early is not good.
One thing that really stood out that I liked about this book was the definitions in the notes. This book talks a lot about activity in the church. Not everyone is familiar with the Church of the Middle Ages and their traditions. Throughout the book, there are notes explaining words and phrases. Young readers and adults reading it won’t get confused as to what is happening and why.
There is even a section at the back of the book explaining the historical context. It discusses the Crusades, the Knights Hospitaller, Hildegard, and other significant historical people, places, and events in this book.
In all honesty, The Seer and the Scribe is one of the best written historical young readers book to weave a fictional story and thoroughly educate. I stress “thoroughly” because so much about the Crusades is “taught” without the reader realizing it. Masterfully done.
Note: This book was supplied to me by the publisher per my request.