There is a mystery woven into Big John's young life that he must solve. Raised during the strife-filled days of the reign of King John of England, in a rude peasant village by "Old Marm," John understands that injustice has been done his family and that Old Marm is preparing him one day to reclaim his name and family honor. He must avenge his unknown father! But Old Marm dies, and he is left without a clue to his name. In the next years John's unusual size and strength (and the knowledge he has gained of letters and of the art of healing) earn him a place as page to an earl organizing the 5th Crusade. In the Holy Land John searches for a father he hopes is living still. Amidst battle, capture and setbacks, John—now a squire to a Knight Hospitaller—encounters Francis of Assisi, who had come to the Holy Land just at this time to preach the Gospel to the Saracens. As John perseveres, Francis helps to bring about the final outcome.