Envoy of Jerusalem: Balian d'Ibelin and the Third Crusade, Book III in the Jerusalem Trilogy Paperback – November 15, 2020
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'Envoy' stands alone as captivating and entertaining, as well as scholarly and far-reaching in scope and intent. As a complete work, the 'Jerusalem' trilogy represents an outstanding achievement; a literary oeuvre constructed in keeping with the highest academic principles for research and verifiable accuracy. --Scott Amis for Real Crusades History
''... a captivating work of historical fiction...that offers insight into the religious politics of the Middle Ages.'' --Foreword Clarion Reviews
About the Author
Helena Schrader holds a PhD in History from the University of Hamburg and served as an American diplomat in Europe and Africa. Her historical novels have collectively won more than twenty literary awards, including Best Biography 2017 and Best Historical Fiction 2020. In addition, she is the author of non-fiction books on women in aviation, the Berlin Airlift and the German Resistance to Hitler. She has been commissioned by a leading UK publisher to write a comprehensive history of the crusader states.
- Publisher : Cross Seas Press (November 15, 2020)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 510 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1735313904
- ISBN-13 : 978-1735313900
- Item Weight : 1.75 pounds
- Dimensions : 5.8 x 1.3 x 8.8 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #396,340 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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Little is to be gained by further summarizing the story. Suffice to say Balian d’Ibelin and his wife, the Dowager Queen Maria Zoe Comnena, continue their leading roles in this vast, immersive, and well-told tale of the tumultuous events in the Holy Land preceding, over the course of, and after the Third Crusade. For review purposes, most pertinent is Dr. Schrader’s continuing success in translating her encyclopedic knowledge of the Crusader States and her proven abilities as a purely creative writer into works of high literary and historical value.
As in the previous two volumes, a convincingly evocative sense of physical environment marks every setting. In 'Envoy', a kingdom ninety years in its building lying ravaged, fallow, and desolate in the wake of Salah ad-Din’s armies, remains hauntingly poignant in memory.
Action, be it a meeting among dissenting hot-tempered barons, cruel words between husband and wife, or an all-out blood-splattered battle on land or sea, is vividly shown with a sure hand for all aspects, verbal, emotive, and physical. In characterization, Balian d’Ibelin faces a formidable challenge to his leading role with the show-stealing Richard I Couer de Lion, capably portrayed as a great king, leader, and warrior who yet shows human strengths and failings, whose deeds and persona match the historical record, and is worthy of his legendary status.
As known to serious students and scholars of the Middle Ages, women in High Medieval Europe and its transplanted culture in the Crusader States were most decidedly not a class of downtrodden beings, solely present to be used by men as sexual toys, heir factories, or currency. In her numerous and extensive characterizations of women of all social stations, Dr. Schrader strictly avoids the clichés of modernist feminism, as well as the common ‘medieval’ stereotypes regularly seen in historical fiction. Consequently, her female characters stand in strong and authentic contrast to these too often seen typecasts. She doesn’t neglect to sharply illustrate the wide disparities between the status and treatment of women in the Christian and Islamic cultures of the time.
'Envoy of Jerusalem' continues at the same compelling, page-turning pace established in 'Knight of Jerusalem' and 'Defender of Jerusalem', not relenting until the conclusion of the final scene. Also, like these preceding volumes, Dr. Schrader’s unfailing attention to the complexities of the historical and environmental frameworks make careful reading an agreeable necessity. The extensive supplementary materials: genealogical charts, maps, introduction, historical afterward and notes, and the glossary and list of additional reading, are easily accessible, and contain answers to any questions that might arise. In themselves, these well written and organized resources provide ample evidence of the author’s scholarly qualifications and standards.
In conclusion, 'Envoy' stands alone as captivating and entertaining, as well as scholarly and far-reaching in scope and intent. As a complete work, the 'Jerusalem' trilogy represents an outstanding achievement; a literary oeuvre constructed in keeping with the highest academic principles for research and verifiable accuracy.
From Real Crusades History, a solid five stars and a hearty Deus Vult for 'Envoy of Jerusalem'! ~ Scott Amis
There was a time many years ago when I was at University when we were encouraged debunk heroes. I say enough! It is time we hold up heroic deeds and words. This world and it's people need inspiration, and I personally found this series and this book in particular inspiring.
This is the third and final installment in a series of three books Schrader has written with the Crusades as her backdrop. This third volume begins in 1187 after the Christian armies have just suffered defeat at the hands of the enemy. To make matters worse they have lost Jerusalem and the mood is defeatist and gloomy. The story once more centers on the author’s heroic figure of Balian Ibelin, as well as his family and entourage. A quick search of history reveals that Balian is an actual historic figure who lived from 1143 to 1193. I thoroughly enjoyed Schrader’s thoughtful and vivid portrayal of Balian d’Ibelin.
"Envoy of Jerusalem" is a perfect bookend to Schrader’s epic trilogy on this period in Christiandom’s history. As with the other two volumes, Helena’s masterful writing leads readers deeper into the intriguing storyline as each page turns. She sprinkles a huge cast of characters throughout, and breathes life into each one making them seem as if they will walk right off the pages. Her descriptive detail of each scene makes the reader feel as if s(he) is right there--an eyewitness to history in the making in this sweeping epic.
History truly does come alive in this series. The Crusades were one of the most harrowing times in the early Middle Ages—kingdoms were at stake and religions were galvanizing, and future trade routes were in the making. The Crusades were a struggle both physically and financially as well. Whether they were effective or even necessary are still debated by historians. Yet one thing is certain: They left an undeniable mark on the course of human history. Very real battles occurred that affected very real people. Author Helena Schrader brings the human factor to the forefront in "Envoy of Jerusalem."
Yet action abounds as well, as it is a story with a major military conflict as its focal point, along with political intrigue, noble family dynamics, and power plays that that will pull readers in and won’t let them go. In short, "Envoy of Jerusalem" effectively takes on the tumultuous times surrounding the Third Crusade with the Holy Land as its setting, and Schrader portrays multiple aspects of life of this time and place vividly while maintaining historical accuracy.
All of these inner workings of a massive military push are dealt with in this series of books that build up to the grand finale in "Envoy of Jerusalem." It takes a very skilled author to take a topic as dense as the Crusades into a compelling read of well-researched historical fiction. Helena Schrader pulls it off with flying colors. Her success lies in the development of the characters.
If you are a fan of medieval history, I highly recommend reading this immensely satisfying series