Catherine Jinks and being Pagan


Medieval re-enactment groups are really popular these days and it is definitely lots of fun to get dressed up and transport yourself to another time, especially when you attend medieval fairs and tournaments.

So if you are into that sort of thing, it’s good to do some research, but also fun to immerse yourself in storytellers’ re-creations of the times. One author who offers fun reading set in ye olde days is Aussie author Catherine Jinks.

Her Pagan series are brilliant, well-researched and humourous stories of the adventures of teenager Pagan Kidrouk who is apprenticed to Knight Templar Lord Roland Roucy de Bram in Jerusalem in the 1180s.

Jinks’ style is easy and modern but filled with Pagan’s banter, which I imagine might be how a feisty medieval teenager would think and talk. One of my favourite descriptions from Pagan’s crusade is on page 53 when Pagan describes characters Odo and Anulf:

And on the eighth day the Lord God formed a man from a dungheap…there he comes now: the walking dungheap. Exuding a smell of rotten vegetables. The charm of dead cow, the wit of a swamp. Beside him, Arnulf. Arnulf the parsnip. Long pale and stringy, with slimy black eyes like over-ripe olives dipped in oil.

The series follows Pagan’s life, his learning and experiences as he travels with his Knight Templar benefactor and follows with Pagan in exile, Pagan’s vows, Pagan’s scribe and soon to be released Babylonne, which follows the tale of Pagan’s daughter.

Catherine Jinks’ website offers some really good insight into her writing methods and she has plenty of information about her other works, which include everything from picture books to serious mystery novels.

Our own Online Resources page offers an excellent resource for Medieval studies. Just follow the links from the library catalogue to Online Resources > Social science and History > Ancient and Medieval History Online.

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