Seven Noble Knights: A Saga of Family, Betrayal, and Revenge in Medieval Spain
by J K Knauss

Published: 2017-01-16
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Spain, 974. Gonzalo, a brave but hotheaded knight, unwittingly provokes tragedy at his uncle's wedding to beautiful young noblewoman Lambra: the adored cousin of the bride dead, his teeth scattered across the riverbank. Coveting his family's wealth and power, Lambra sends Gonzalo's father ...
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Spain, 974. Gonzalo, a brave but hotheaded knight, unwittingly provokes tragedy at his uncle's wedding to beautiful young noblewoman Lambra: the adored cousin of the bride dead, his teeth scattered across the riverbank. Coveting his family's wealth and power, Lambra sends Gonzalo's father into enemy territory to be beheaded, unleashing a revenge that devastates Castile for a generation.

A new hero, Mudarra, rises out of the ashes of Gonzalo's once great family. Raised as a warrior in the opulence of Muslim Córdoba, Mudarra must make a grueling journey and change his religion, then chooses to take his jeweled sword to the throats of his family's betrayers. But only when he strays from the path set for him does he find his true purpose in life.

Inspired by a lost medieval epic poem, Seven Noble Knights draws from history and legend to bring a brutal yet beautiful world to life in a gripping story of family, betrayal, and love.

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Part One, Chapter X

For two days, Gonzalo Gustioz found solace in sleep during the night and the day in a windowless room. On the third day, he was awakened by Almanzor’s slender hand on his shoulder. Gonzalo opened his eyes to discern the chamberlain and the two guards who had brought him to the cell. ... view entire excerpt...

Discussion Questions

How did you experience Seven Noble Knights? Were you engaged immediately, or did it take you a while to get into it?

Did Seven Noble Knights take you outside your comfort zone?

What major emotional response did the story evoke in you?

Do you think the title Seven Noble Knights does justice to the novel?


Which character did you feel the most empathy towards?

Did you like the characters and, if not, was that important?

Were there any characters you loved to hate?

Did any character remind you of someone you know?

Why does Doña Lambra take such offense at her wedding, even after the count resolves the issue legally? Are her later actions justified?

Why does Gonzalico lash out at Little Page?

If you were Almanzor, what would you do with Don Gonzalo?

Should Justa have escaped with Adalberto? Does Justa deserve to be happy? What would happiness look like for someone in Justa’s position?

What would you have done if you were Mudarra?

Why do the ghosts appear to Mudarra and Doña Sancha?

If you were Doña Sancha, would you have forgiven Ruy Blásquez? Do you agree with her decisions about about her brother’s and sister-in-law’s fates?

Why do you think Justa and Blanca Flor flee near the end of the novel? What would you have done in their position?

Do you think Blanca Flor will ever see Mudarra again? Would she want to, after what he did to her mother and father?

What do you think the use of multiple points of view contributed to the story? Could the story have been told from a single character’s point of view?


How did the environment affect the story? Do you think this story could happen anywhere other than medieval Spain?

How might the events of Part One be different if they had taken place in the twenty-first century? Part Two?

When Don Gonzalo rides to Córdoba, he imagines how the Christians can take over the land he’s in, which has been under Muslim control for close to three hundred years. Does he feel at home when he arrives at Medina Azahara? What makes for a good claim to land?

Which location was your favorite? Why?

In Barbadillo today, there’s a statue of Doña Lambra, and the crest of Salas de los Infantes shows Mudarra and Don Gonzalo holding a ring with the seven brothers around the border. Which town’s memorial seems most appropriate? If you were the mayor of one of these towns, what kind of memorial would you create for visitors?

The Ending

Did the main characters change by the end of the book? If so, how?

Was the revenge satisfying? Do you think Doña Sancha and Don Gonzalo got it right, or do you sympathize with Mudarra’s confusion?

Were you satisfied with the ending? What do you think the future holds for Mudarra, Doña Sancha, Justa, and Blanca Flor?

Did Seven Noble Knights leave any questions open-ended that you would like to know the answer to?

Had you read reviews before reading Seven Noble Knights? If so, did you agree with the reviewers?

If you could ask the author a question, what would it be?

Notes From the Author to the Bookclub

“I thoroughly enjoyed reading this historical novel! … One part of this wonderful story upset me so much that I had difficulty falling asleep that night.”—Nancy from Goodreads

“This appealing novel seems a bit of Romeo and Juliet overlaid with Spanish Christians and Moorish Muslims. It is a story of vengeance and young love set in a uniquely fascinating setting within medieval Europe. …there are several very well-done short combat scenes.The contrast between the technically advanced but decadent opulence of Córdoba and the relatively simple but proud character of Christian Spain is fascinating. I look forward to the sequel and will happily recommend this book.”—Thomas J. Howley, Historical Novel Review

“Let Seven Noble Knights welcome you to historical fiction! …it’s a rich saga populated with characters you will grow to love (and a few you will love to hate). The ancient empires of Spain are a beautiful backdrop to the struggles of humankind across all generations of all lands: romance, revenge, war, and adventure.”—Pushcart Prize nominee Reneé Bibby, The Writers Studio

“According to Seven Noble Knights, medieval family values were not to be trifled with. … Knauss’s writing gets us involved with her characters, despite their extremely bloody behaviour. …puts us into the time, place and social mores so that we see the action from the point of view of someone of that era. …at times cinematic, her descriptions are convincing.”—Author Seymour Hamilton

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