The first two books of the Crispin trilogy (Crispin: The Cross of Lead and Crispin: At the Edge of the World) by Avi follow a 13th-century boy through his quest for freedom. Crispin begins as a no-name boy whose mother has just died and is being pursued for a crime he didn't commit. As he makes his escape and attempts at freedom, he meets Bear, a jester who becomes his master and, eventually, his friend and the father-figure Crispin has always dreamed of. In Crispin: At the Edge of the World, Bear and Crispin continue traveling, seeking freedom, and make new friends--and enemies--along the way. As they journey together through the land, Crispin discovers more of who he truly is and what freedom and love really mean..
Final word: B+. I had a really hard time feeling like I connected with this novel while I was reading it. In retrospect, I like it more now. :) I really enjoyed the historical aspects of the novel, especially as seen through Crispin's naive and idealistic young eyes. I loved the development of the secondary characters and their relationships, and I enjoyed watching Crispin's definition of freedom morph through his experiences. I'll definitely read the third and final novel when it comes out later this year, but I won't be standing in line for it.