The Children's Crusade

Rebecca Brown, Author Seal Press (CA) $8.95 (0p) ISBN 978-1-878067-04-3
Childhood is a nasty business, according to this overwrought, forgettable novel by the author of The Haunted House. In an early scene, the young, unnamed protagonist accompanies her father on a duck hunt; she is traumatized when she follows her father's instructions to kill a duck that has survived bullet wounds: ``My foot was pressing the duck's neck. I was breaking the duck's neck. The duck was alive. It was trying not to die. I was watching it die. I was making it die. I was killing it. I was killing it with my foot.'' Later, a swimming accident renders her brother's best friend a vegetable. In the book's most ambitious vignettes, the protagonist's parents are divorcing and Brown posits them as competitors for the crown of a kingdom that is a peculiar hybrid of medieval and modern elements. The manipulated protagonist becomes a double agent and a terrorist. She understands that the 13th-century child crusaders were less interested in a mission of faith then they were in running away from their parents. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 03/04/1991
Release date: 03/01/1991
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