In the latter half of the 13th century, Christian Europe again sought to prise the Holy Land out of the grasp of the Infidel. Tens of thousands took up the Cross - some for the greater glory of God, others for baser motives: lust for power, for riches, for revenge.THE CRUSADER tells the story of the seventh and last Crusade, as experienced by a young Spanish nobleman, Francisco de Montcada. He is the hero of this novel, but his tale is told by his former friend and a fellow acolyte, a venal and moderately trustworthy Cistercian monk named Brother Lucas. For Francisco has returned from the Levant a broken and seemingly possessed man. The Inquisition decree that his tortured soul be exorcized and the task falls to Brother Lucas. Eschewing the Inquisition's more usual methods, the monk sits with the silent, emaciated knight in his cell and talks to him. Slowly, tentatively, Francisco begins to recount his story - a tale of how an honourable man took up the Cross and found not the glory and redemption for which he'd yearned but instead unimaginable cruelty, barbarism and bloodshed. Set against a thrillingly authentic historical backdrop, this stirring novel of religious fervour and human passions, of greed and betrayal, and love and war, brings a tumultuous era brilliantly to life.
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