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I have very vague memories of a children's/YA book that I borrowed from a library in England some time in the early 2000s. It was written in English and I don't think it was translated. I'm not sure if it was plain historical fiction or if there were fantasy elements, but I'd lean towards the former. It might be a standalone novel or part of a series, but certainly I didn't read any further if it was part of a series.

The viewpoint character was a boy who became assistant (squire?) to a fat knight named Sir John. There was also another boy serving in the same role; I think one of the boys was called Alan, but I'm not sure which one. Towards the end of the story, the second boy turns out to be secretly a girl in disguise (maybe there's some kind of bathroom scene where this is revealed?), and there's some kind of joke on "his"/her name: her real name is a feminine version of the name she'd assumed while posing as a boy.

The cover of the book was I think red or yellow in colour, and featured a cartoon-style drawing, showing Sir John as ridiculously fat. The book itself was quite thick, definitely a novel and not a novella or short story.

I know this isn't much to go on, and I can't really remember anything about the plot except the boy/girl reveal. Hopefully it'll be enough for someone with better memory or search skills than I to find the book.

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  • Presumably not "Cue for Treason" or "Black Arrow"?
    – mikado
    Oct 23, 2022 at 11:42
  • @mikado Nope, neither of those seems to be a children's book featuring squires to a knight named Sir John.
    – Rand al'Thor
    Oct 23, 2022 at 11:45

1 Answer 1

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The Knight and the Squire by Terry Jones

Description taken from amazon:

In a small village in 14th-century England, a bright young boy named Tom is restless. Tired of studying and digging ditches, he dreams of noble crusades in far-off lands. He decides that he must have his freedom and flees to the forest to elude pursuers. There he meets the terrifying Wolfman, who becomes an unexpected friend. Throughout his eventful journey, Tom encounters a colorful assortment of characters, but none more lively than Alan, who leads them both to France to fight for king and country. With its non-stop adventure and marvelous humor, readers will be turning the pages as quickly as they can to follow Tom and Alan through ambush and skirmish, battle and siege.

Booklist review of the sequel, available on amazon.com mentions Ann (AKA Alan).

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  • Great, that's it! Another Amazon review mentions "a mysterious new friend named Alan who has many different names with different people and makes his way to geat [sic] journeys with Alan and their knight Sir John", and the cover looks familiar too.
    – Rand al'Thor
    Oct 23, 2022 at 12:52

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