The Boy Knight by G.A. Henty is an exciting tale following the travels of Cuthbert de Lance, a young page aspiring to be a knight who journeys on the crusades to win his spurs. Along the way he grows to be a man and climatically saves his country. He performs many different feats, from reconciling the forest outlaws and an earl to rescuing a princess to arranging for the ransom of a king. Through it all, he remains chivalrous, courageous, sensible, and loyal, resulting in a grateful King Richard bestowing upon him the knighthood he’s always dreamed after.
Cuthbert’s most praiseworthy character trait is chivalry. He displays this in many different instances: when he rescues Margaret, the Earl of Evesham’s daughter, from a vindictive Norman nobleman; when he saves the kidnapped Princess Berengaria from Sir de Jacquelin Barras and his men; when he takes care to ensure that his mother and fiancée are safe; and in a ...view middle of the document...
Yet another strength found in this brave lad is presence of mind. Cuthbert’s remarkable common sense gets him out of many a scrape through the course of this adventurous tale. Oftentimes, it is because of his quick wits that his friends are miraculously extricated from all kinds of difficult situations. Whether he is rescuing damsels in distress, fighting Moorish pirates, escaping Saracen captivity, or scaling Alps fraught with avalanches and savage wolves, Cuthbert is always ready with a plan to save him and his friends from any predicament they come across.
Cuthbert’s final commendable quality is that of loyalty. He is willing to lay down his life to save King Richard, as we see in the aforementioned battle with Saladin. He sticks by his friends, no matter what dire circumstances they are in; his moral code would not allow him to desert anyone in need. The straits he will go through to obey his king and the earl in whose service he is for the first half of the book are impressive, and it would be noble if men today consented to imitate his patriotic example. Cuthbert’s unsurpassable fidelity and integrity cannot be praised enough, especially as they are sadly lacking in today’s culture.
Henty’s The Boy Knight is acclaimed for is historical detail and accuracy, and surely we can glean much information about medieval town culture and knightly chivalry from it. But the most important thing to take with us is the way Cuthbert treats others—with honor, distinction, and courtesy. Cuthbert de Lance is a character all should imitate, for he is a Christ-like figure with commendable moral caliber, one who is willing to serve or rescue his friends, no matter the cost. He shows courage and readiness to help the weak; he champions the right causes and lives out the right principles because it is part of his moral code of ethics. His remarkable journey from being a courageous pageboy of fifteen to a noble knight whose fiancée is the Earl of Evesham’s daughter is sure to excite interest in every reader who comes across this book. In Cuthbert de Lance, Henty gives us a laudable example of loyalty, common sense, courage, and chivalry.