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Crusade Paperback – Bargain Price, July 29, 2008
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Wonderful loaded with atmosphere, action, and intrigue... The Crusades come alive. (Steve Berry, bestselling author of "The Templar Legacy")
IrresistibleTeeming with spirited characters, treachery and betrayal, "Brethren" captures a story that grows more relevant by the day. (Raymond Khoury, bestselling author of "The Last Templar") --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
About the Author
Robyn Young has worked as a creative writing teacher, financial advisor, folk singer, and music festival organizer, and has traveled extensively in Europe and Egypt. She has a masters in creative writing from the University of Sussex.
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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.
Book 2 begins with a plot by businessman to force a new Crusade through treachery and deception, a plot that would force the "Christian" European kings to take up the cross and return to Outremer (current day middle-east), because the Crusades produced business, and vast amounts of money, for many traders.
Will Campbell, the main character from Brethren, returns in his place as a knight in the Templars and a member of the Anima Templi, a group that, from within the Templars, works in secret with high ranking members of the Mamluks, the rulers of Egypt and most of Outremer, to end the 200 year war now known as the Crusades.
Sultan Baybars, historically speaking one of the greatest rulers of all time in terms of accomplishment, was the ruler of most of Outremer, with the exception of a few chunks of land possessed by the infidels; Christians, Venetians, Genoese, and other non-Muslim people. Jerusalem was (and still is, modern news programs remind us of this nightly) the center of the worlds 3 major religions, Christianity (mainly Catholicism during the Crusades), Muslim, and Judaism. All 3 religions believe that they should own the land that is center to their religion. Enter the Crusades.
A plot surfaces that could threaten the Christians, the Muslims, everyone in Outremer. Also surfacing are plots to dethrone the men in charge of the Muslims, the city of Jerusalem and the Templars. Also entering the landscape is the powerful horde known as the Mongols (yes, like Genghis Khan), who were looking to take over the world themselves. The Mamluks, as the main power in Outremer were faced with a war on 2 fronts, invading Mongols that were covering Asia like a plague, and the infidel, the Christians, who the Muslims believed defiled their religion and their land simply by being in Outremer.
All of these issues tie together to create a story that is excessively rich in character development (perhaps too rich as much time is spent developing characters that I don't believe directly effected the main plot or the final outcome of the novel; but they are wonderful characters), rich in history (with accuracy that is brutally honest, aside from the fictional characters), accurate in description of the true historical figures of the time, including their motivations and goals, and somewhat thick with suspense.
I believe that suspense is where this book is most disappointing; it was not nearly as suspenseful as the first. There is no real climax and the book does not end with a 'cliff-hanger' as the first did. Rather, it just points to where history already tells us we would be headed if we were with Will Campbell. That, of course, is a problem only if you are a student of medieval history, the Crusades, or the Knights Templar, which I am, all 3 (so please accept that I am admittedly opinionated on this subject and not pointing out that the book is flawed by this fact).
Brethren, was wonderful. One of my favorite reads recently. This book, however, began slow; it took me about 1/3 of the book (maybe 175 pages) to truly gain interest in the story, mainly due to character development that I, personally, don't think was necessary (don't get me wrong, I realize that I did not write this book; just my humble opinion). Robyn Young obviously has a tremendous gift and love for character development and I believe that this love led to the creation of many characters that could have been left out; but she couldn't let go of the many diverse characters.
I will state that I am glad that I completed this book as it did not end the way I thought it would, but it is heading in a direction that leaves me wondering whether the fiction will soon override the fact. I realize that this is historical FICTION, but it seems that the fictional characters may be moving toward a not-so-strange end (as in truth is stranger than fiction) . I certainly hope that I am wrong.
Robyn Young is a very talented author with a huge gift for creating believable characters but I believe that someone who is not extremely interested in the topic (Crusades, Templars, Medieval history) might become irritated with the time spent building the characters. However, if you are at all interested in the subject, this is a wonderful read that happens to be penned by an author that has a true gift for creating wonderful characters that filled the background already laid out by history.
All in all, the book was good, perhaps overly complicated by the many characters, but considering the topic, the intent and the ending, it is still very true to history in its depiction of war and politics of the time, day-to-day life, battles and leaders that were players in the time depicted, and the monumental end of the Crusades.
So, to sum up, Brethren (book 1) was a 5 star effort, thorough in character, history, suspense and mystery.
Crusade is a 4 star effort, somewhat bogged down by a few characters that were probably not necessary (but were well developed nonetheless), historically accurate (with minor changes allowed for creative license), sparsely suspenseful but somewhat predictable and non-mysterious; but overall the book was very good.
I eagerly await book 3, Requiem (now titled The Fall of the Templars in the US), due out in 2008, and the fate of Will Campbell and the Anima Templi.