This is a most interesting and thought provoking entry by Martin Lake. Jerusalem is under siege by a Muslim horde led by Saladin and is being defended by the respected knight, Balian. With so few knights to defend the city, Balian bestows knighthood on ordinary peasants and that has unexpected results for those who survive the fall of Jerusalem. The tale follows the separate paths that the main characters have to follow in order to survive or to seek out their loved ones. One of the more salient features of the story is how the new ‘knights’ are treated by their fellow Christians as opposed to how they are treated by their Muslim captors.
The story is full of the descriptive talent I’ve come to enjoy from Mr. Lake as he takes the reader on a journey to many of the historical sites of that part of the world, Jerusalem, Tyre, Antioch & Baghdad, for example. The author has also given us many great characters to grow fond of or to despise. I enjoyed this tale of the seemingly endless conflicts to control The Middle East and I am looking forward to finding out what happens to the characters as the story continues in the sequel. 4 stars.