Joseph and his family have fled their home in the Ukraine and headed to Krakow after the Tartars have laid waste to their home. They are being hunted even in Krakow as Joseph's father is hiding the Great Tarnov Crystal, a jewel that is said to possess great powers and one that is worth killing for. Pan Andrew, Joseph's father, has fulfilled his family's ancient oath to protect it for as long as they could but now that the secret is out, he must give it to the King of Poland but first he must survive and keep it safe long enough to be granted that audience. To keep his identity secret, he takes on the job of the night trumpeter who sounds the Heynal with the broken note in each direction on the hour. His family has found sanctuary in the house with an alchemist and his niece but there are others nearby with less pure motives that would steal the crystal if they knew it's whereabouts.
Beautifully researched and simply told, it's easy to see why this was awarded the John Newberry Medal. This book was chosen years ago for my 2nd son's book club and he asked me to read it but between one thing and another I just now got around to it. It was a nice little read with some historical significance.
Page count: 208p/32,881p ytd/213,919p lifetime