John Wayne once said, "A man's got to have a code, a creed to live by, no matter his job." In the mid-1800s, author Alfred Lord Tennyson wrote a series of classic tales about knights who were the warriors of medieval days. In "Gareth and Lynette", Gareth tells his mother just before leaving to fulfill his dream of joining King Arthur's Knights of the Round Table, "Follow the Christ the King. Live pure, speak true, right wrong, follow the king. Else, wherefore born?" The young knight had answered the question "Why am I here?" The question that burns in every man's heart.
An innate sense of destiny is built into our DNA. A sense of calling. Are you questioning life? Wrestling with personal demons? Need motivation? As life gets tougher and the world moves faster, today's man needs real answers. The Knight's Code is an expedition into addressing the many issues that plague us as men. Just straight-up talk, to guys, about life.
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I grew up on Golden Age Radio, and while I love to read, I typically consume more books via audio thanks to a job that lets me listen while I work. As an aspiring writer, I try to read a great deal of non-fiction in addition to a variety of fictional genres. I especially love history, historical fiction, science fiction, fantasy, and old-style gothic horror.
As a man interested in the lessons of history and the code of chivalry for most of my life, to the point of having learned the art of the sword (actual steel, not that foam stuff used for LARP), I was understandably curious about this title and took the plunge to be the first reviewer.
Here's the bottom line of it, up front: the author is a well-intentioned minister, and his aim here is less about chivalry than it is converting you to Christianity. He tells you up front this is so, and he even says he's unapologetic about it. Fine and well, it's his book. To him it's one and the same, and it's just not so. Faith is but one facet of chivalry. That wouldn't be so disappointing given the historical context of knights, except that this book is approached as a Sunday prayer service (seriously, there are numerous prayers for guidance within) and ministry rather than as historical extrapolation for translation to the modern world. He tries both, and he truly believes he can convert those who aren't in the flock already, but... well, you perhaps see where I'm going with this. It's the same imbalanced mistake every would-be converter to the faith makes in that he readily assumes that an open mind is all it'll take to bring you over to their side. The result is that if you're not already a part of the flock, you're likely to be turned off almost immediately.
The views presented within are not so wrong from the perspective of the converted and faithful, but they are incredibly misguided from the standpoint of the code of chivalry. There are a number of historical inaccuracies, but I think in this case the spirit of intent was far more important to the author. The biggest fallacy I found, other than the need to convert everyone, is that he apparently believes there is only one code of chivalry, and his reliance on it to redirect the reader back to Scripture knows no bounds. I guess if that's all you found in your research, that's what you roll with, but I doubt if he knows if his code originates with a Catholic or Protestant order of knights. I know of a handful of historical codes of chivalry, and not all of them are Christian-oriented. I personally follow one that relies heavily on faith and similar points presented here without necessarily being Christian. It can be applied easily to nearly any well-intentioned faith as well as a morally-strong agnostic point of view, much like the code of the Boy Scouts. While I'm certain that would get me burned as a heretic in the Middle Ages, I submit this point as my primary fault with this title and its intent. Personally, I have nothing against Christianity or its precepts, but like any religion or sect out there, the fundamentalists tend to create this unintentional wall between themselves and those they wish to convert. The willingness of the recipient has to be there, and such is the case presented here. The Biblical research may be there, but the historical content simply isn't in many cases. That said, if you buy the message as the author hopes, you can probably apply the rest if you're willing to do the work. This basic building block and the approach the author takes will have its audience, but that audience isn't me. Approaching this from a more generalized angle rather than an everyone-needs-to-be-assimilated perspective would have been far better for my needs.
For those who are inclined to play along, the author will also rattle off Biblical passages at speeds the Flash couldn't keep up with, so you'll either need to pause frequently or find a paper copy of the book.
Three hours in, and there has been scant discussion of knights or their code, only passing references that seemed to have been incidental. It was certainly not the point of the book. The book comes across as a long speech one might hear at a Promise Keeper's convention. If that sort of "modern Christian man" viewpoint book is what you are looking for, this might be a fine choice. It simply wasn't what I was expecting from a book titled "The Knight's Code".
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