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Brethren: An Epic Adventure of the Knights Templar Hardcover – July 11, 2006
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From Publishers Weekly
Debut novelist Young climbs aboard the Templar bandwagon, but sets the bar high in this initial installment of a trilogy on the Knights and the last crusade. Christendom's desperate attempts to maintain a foothold in the Holy Land against a furious Muslim jihad is embodied by Sir William Campbell, a young, idealistic Knight Templar, and the devout Baybars Bundukdari, the sultan of Egypt, determined to rid the region of Western influence. Young shifts between the rival camps; there is plenty of battlefield action, and a romantic interest for William in Elwen, the beautiful young niece of his fallen mentor. There's also a mystery for William to solve: the disappearance of the Book of the Grail, which contains the explosive (and heretical) agenda of a secret group of Brethren within the Knights Templar. Combining rich historical detail, clever plotting and engaging characters, Young has crafted a historical thriller that will have readers turning pages and envisioning the sequel. (July)
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Wonderful... loaded with atmosphere, action, and intrigue. The Crusades come alive Steve Berry, author of THE TEMPLAR LEGACY BRETHREN is one of the best historical debuts in recent memory. Exciting and enthralling, it gripped me from the first page and left me waiting anxiously for the next instalment John Connolly, author of THE BLACK ANGEL and THE BOOK OF LOST THINGS Rich historical detail, clever plotting and engaging characters ... a historical thriller that will have readers turning pages and envisioning the sequel Publishers Weekly Pacy and well-written, with vivid, convincing characters, Brethren captures your interest until the last page. I eagerly anticipate the sequel, knowing I will not be disappointed Alison Weir Intricate, compelling, captivating and, above all, believable ... a brilliant piece of sustained imagination David Boyle, author of BLONDEL'S SONG Robyn Young's BRETHREN is a truly excellent novel. The thirteenth century is vividly and excitingly evoked ... I can't wait for the sequel! Mark Philpott, Centre for Medieval & Renaissance Studies, Oxford 'Stirring...carefully researched' Publishing News A sweeping historical adventure with strong characters and serious verve...hits all the big emotional points...Can't wait for the next two volumes! Sarah Weinman (Baltimore Sun, Shots Magazine, Galleycat blog) If you love the Templars, the Crusades, and the Middle Ages, this is the book for you. Robyn Young is an exciting new voice that speaks loudly Sharon Penman, author 'Engaging and enjoyable - Robyn Young brings the tumultuous medieval world to life with pace and flair' Tom Harper, author, Knights Of The Cross Richly worked and captivating...an epic story of war, intrigue and heroism Good Book Guide Tipped to be the next Da Vinci Code Elle El Cid meets The Da Vinci Code! Exciting, page-turning fiction Simon Mayo's Book Panel, BBC Radio Five Live --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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About the author:
Robyn Young was born in Oxford and grew up in the Midlands and a fishing village in Devon, during which time she won awards for poetry and edited a regular page in a regional newspaper. After hitchhiking to Brighton at 19, she worked as a festival organiser, a music promoter and a financial advisor. She wrote two novels before gaining a Masters in Creative Writing at the University of Sussex.
Her first published novel, BRETHREN, went straight into the Sunday Times top ten, where it remained for five weeks, becoming the bestselling hardback debut of the year. It entered the New York Times top twenty on publication in the US and was named book of the year by German newspaper Bild. Her second novel, CRUSADE, reached number 2 and REQUIEM completed the trilogy. In 2007, Robyn was named one of Waterstone's twenty-five 'authors of the future', judged by a panel of one hundred industry insiders who were asked to nominate the authors they believed would contribute the greatest body of work over the next quarter century.
The inspiration for Robyn's new bestselling trilogy, which began in 2010 with INSURRECTION and continued in 2012 with RENEGADE, was inspired by a research trip to Scotland and is based on the life of Robert Bruce. The third novel, KINGDOM, will be published in 2014 in the month of the 700th anniversary of the Battle of Bannockburn.
Alongside writing novels, Robyn has collaborated on a WWII screenplay. Her novels have been published in 22 countries in 19 languages and together have sold almost 2 million copies.
This was revealing and spell binding because Young found, in the era of the Crusades, the complexities we now spin fantasy to encounter. "Brethren" looks at familiar themes of family break up, bullying, alienation and betrayal in a very believable yet fascinatingly strange context but, in addition, she is able to examine the theme of growing up, not just as a social but also as a spirtual phenomenon. I applaud the selecton of character and setting that enabled her to package this investigation in the recreated reality of the Medieval Knights Templar.
Robyn Young's narrative skills create a rich and diverse canvas that spans Europe and the Middle East and finds humanity in ancient history and heroic
figures of the past on both sides of the idealogical struggles that gave rise to the Crusades. She hints at the relevance of this conflict to
contemporary issues, a theme to be developed further in "Crusade".
Young people who learned to love reading in the Harry Potter break through period will relate to this book and find it a great path to a new genre at an adult level. Established readers who have been thrilled by Dan Brown will be drawn to Robyn Young as a well informed source of further musing about the origins of faith and the conflicts associated with religion. Seasoned epic readers will become quickly fascinated by the scope of the Brethren trilogy. This book brings together timeless human concerns and clearly redrawn historical situations.
As a history buff, I found her research to be first rate. I have read other novels where Baybars, the Mamluk leader of Egypt was the main character and her interpretation of him and his motives was just as believable. I'd read the novel just for the historical insights and flavor.
I did think the plot took too long to develop and some aspects of it may have stretched probability. On the other hand, her characters were well developed and internally consistent.
I will probably buy the next in the series since I've put this much time into getting to know the characters and invested still more time understanding the plot.
When she did write the action scenes they were OK, but the story could have used more of them, seeing how violent that era was.
Would I buy this book again, knowing then what I know about it? Maybe, depends on what else was out there at the time. I value my time, and am quite willing to stop reading a book that I find I don't like enough. I finished this one, and will probably buy the next one. She has a way to go to become one of my favorite authors.