Pagan's Daughter, by Catherine Jinks

“You’ll have to feed him, and wipe his bottom, and save him from the giant olives,” Sybille continues maliciously…
So they seriously expect me to spend the next ten years cleaning up after an incontinent old man in the middle of nowhere?
If so, they’re going to be sadly disappointed.

Babylonne has lived a hard life with her violent, heretical aunt and grandmother, who have looked after her since the death of her mother, but treat her as a slave because she is illegitimate. When her aunt decides to marry her off to an aging invalid, Babylonne decides she wants out, and runs away.

But someone is following Babylonne, and soon she comes face to face with her pursuer – a priest who says he knew her father. Can Babylonne trust Isidore, a priest who stands for so much that she abhors?

Author Catherine Jinks’ Pagan series, published in the 1990s, was an award-winning, popular story set in medieval times. Now Jinks picks up the story without the much-loved Pagan. Instead, she introduces us to Pagan’s daughter, a daughter who never met her father, yet has inherited his feisty spirit. Babylonne is a girl in a man’s world, where women are at best inconveniences and at worst, goods to be use misused at any opportunity. Isidore, who featured in the earlier books is a gentle, educated and wise man, who comes to be a father figure for Babylonne, as they form a bond.

Whilst the book details some horrific events during the bloody battles and sieges of the Cathar crusade, it is also filled with humour and action, as well as maps and inserts which provide historical information without intruding on the narrative.

Aimed at readers 12 and up, this one will please history fans.

Pagan’s Daughter, by Catherine Jinks
Allen & Unwin, 2006