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Looking for a great book on the Crusades

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Looking for a great book on the Crusades

Post by kauldron26 » Thu October 14th, 2010, 12:48 am

I'm currently in a reading slump... and I'm dying for a historical epic. I'd appreciate a recommendation of a book that covers the crusades or the papal wars.

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Post by annis » Thu October 14th, 2010, 2:49 am

Tom Harper's trilogy set during the First Crusade is one I thought excellent. it has a different perspective because it's written from the POV of an Imperial agent from Byzantium keeping an eye on the Crusaders, and follows their path from Byzantium to Jerusalem.

1) Mosaic of Shadows
2) Knights of the Cross
3) Siege of Heaven

Tom Harper has a website here:

Just recently enjoyed another novel with a First Crusade setting which is a twist on the popular grail quest thriller and also pokes a bit of fun at academic life. Those who followed the furore when Dr John Hood was appointed Vice-Chancellor of Oxford will particularly appreciate this one. Based on the Grail romance, Perceval, it's both very clever and entertaining

The Waste Landby Simon Acland

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Post by chuck » Thu October 14th, 2010, 11:37 pm

I enjoyed Jan Guillou's Crusade Trilogy..."The Road to Jerusalem"..."The Knight Templar"...TBA....and another novel I really enjoyed was Michael Eisner's "The Crusader" and finally Cecelia Holland's "Jerusalem"......

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MLE (Emily Cotton)
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Interest in HF: started in childhood with the classics, which, IMHO are HF even if they were contemporary when written.
Favourite HF book: Prince of Foxes, by Samuel Shellabarger
Preferred HF: Currently prefer 1600 and earlier, but I'll read anything that keeps me turning the page.
Location: California Bay Area

Post by MLE (Emily Cotton) » Fri October 15th, 2010, 12:01 am

I just ordered the book reviewed by Annis , the Relic. It appears to be set in/around the crusades. If I like it, I'll read the rest of the series. I't by Pip Vaughan-Hughes, and there's a review in the fiction reviews thread.

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Post by annis » Fri October 15th, 2010, 3:22 am

Hope you enjoy it, MLE. I'm a bit nervous now - Misfit hated one book I reviewed!

M.M. Bennetts

Post by M.M. Bennetts » Fri October 15th, 2010, 11:03 am

This isn't historical fiction, but it's quite possibly one of the most fascinating books covering the subject, and that's Judith Herrin's Byzantium. She holds the chair for Byzantine history at University College, London, but that doesn't make her dry as an old stick.

On the contrary, it's one of the liveliest most fascinating books I've ever read--full of "I didn't know that!" moments. And her disentangling of all that went horribly pear-shaped during the Crusades is jaw-dropping.

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Kveto from Prague
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Post by Kveto from Prague » Fri October 15th, 2010, 3:21 pm

For the first crusade I like "knight in Armour" by Alfred Duggan. It follows a minor norman younger son over the course of the journey. No punches are pulled and the hardships of the journey are staggering. no sugar coating here. plus the protagonist is placed as minor nobility so you get a look at both the lords and the commoners.

I also like "Deus lo Volt!" by evan connell,which is written as a chronicle of the years 1096-1290 and covers all of the "numbered" crusades. Its so well written that at times i had to check that it wasnt authentic as it incorporates so many stories, experiences and legends about the crusades. the narrator is also fun as he feels the need to inject his own opinion into the events often. but ill warm you, im the only person I know who enjoyed this book.

I havent found anything on the early crusader kingdom but for the middle kingdom Judith Tarr's "Queen of swords" is good. its not without flaws but its the only book written about queen Melisandres reign i know of.

for the end of the crusader kingdom, I loved Graham Shelby's "Knights of dark reknown" with the scoundrel lord, Reynald de Chantillion as one of the main characters. Many on this board like Cecillia hollands "jerusalum" which covers the same period.

For short stories on the crusades theres harold lambs "swords of the west". and for a muslim perspective there is his "swords of the desert"

Uberto Eco's "baldolino" is set in the 4th crusade and prestor johns kingdom.

Micheal Eisners "crusader" is set in the seventh crusade from a spanish perspective.

there are plenty more. these were the ones which sprung to mind. you can find many more on margarets crusader section of her website http://www.historicalnovels.info/Crusades.html

If i had to narrow it down id say "knight in Armour"

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Post by Ash » Fri October 15th, 2010, 3:34 pm

I second Queen of Swords, and would also add Falcolns of Montebard by Eliz Chadwick with one of the best endings in a book I've ever read.

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Post by Misfit » Fri October 15th, 2010, 4:00 pm

[quote=""annis""]Hope you enjoy it, MLE. I'm a bit nervous now - Misfit hated one book I reviewed![/quote]

Sorry about that :o
At home with a good book and the cat...
...is the only place I want to be

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Post by kauldron26 » Sat October 16th, 2010, 2:49 pm

Thanks guys! Now lets see which one of these are available in audiobook format

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