St. Louis' Knight, Book one of the Templar Tales by Helena P. Schrader, is the best book about the thirteenth century crusades that you will ever hope to get your hands on. Lady Eleanor does not respond to the news that France has been overtaken like a normal noblewoman should. She's curious about it, and wants to know more from the herald. The Saracens have beaten back much of the western world and are keeping the French monarch and his brothers hostage. Although the rest of the country mourns, Eleanor rejoices for all the wrongs that she feels the king and the other French nobles have done to her and her family. In order to escape the Cypriot ladies, she embarks on a "pilgrimage" to pray for the king's release, but not everything is as it seems. On her journey, Eleanor learns more about herself than she ever thought possible.
Now, admittedly, I have very little experience in dealing with books about the crusades. Knowing that Robin of Locksley (yes...Robin Hood) was away on a crusade when his father's lands were taken, causing him to rebel, is about the extent of my knowledge. Helena P. Schrader has helped to open up my eyes somewhat on the matter. I really enjoyed the action and adventure that she portrayed. I know that it was a very violent time and Schrader didn't pull any punches. The story was engaging, and definitely seemed very accurate to the times. It's clear that Helena did her research, as I was particularly taken by some of the intricate detailing she applied to the story and the characters. I enjoyed Eleanor's memories of how her family fell apart. It was thrilling, sad, but gave you a real feel for why she acted the way she did. A very good book and one that many historical fans will go crazy for.
A crusader in search of faith,
A lame lady in search of revenge,
and a king who would be saint.
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