The Long Pilgrimage

by George Finkel
Reviewed by Jenny

A deft balance of historical depth and light-hearted story-telling.


Having slain a man for a grievous insult on his house, Sygwald Osricsson is forced to flee his country of Northumbria and seek a life elsewhere. Carrying a message from the church in England to King Karl of the Franks, Sygwald is caught up in a war against the heathen Moors of Spain. In his travels from Northumbria to the ravaged shell of once-famed Jerusalem, the young man waits for the change of rulers in his homeland, the end of his exile, and the end of his long pilgrimage.


A good sense of morality is maintained throughout the book.

Spiritual Content

By the time of Charlemagne, referred to as King Karl, the Catholic Church has taken a firm hold in Europe. In the Moorish countries, Islam prevails.


At the beginning, Sygwald kills a man for insulting his family. There are many battles throughout the story, but none are unduly graphic.

Drug and Alcohol Content

There is a drinking of wine and mead, but no drunkenness.

Sexual Content


Crude or Profane Language or Content

People swear by aspects and tenants of Christianity.


This is a very personal account of the world during the rule of Charlemagne. The lands of Northern England, Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East take on a living aspect under Finkel's pen, and all his characters are vibrant and believable. They will stay with you long after you close the book.

Fun Score: 5
Values Score: 4.5
Written for Age: 13+

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