Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Mark L. Introduces to Jan Guillou's Crusades Trilogy

The Road to Jerusalem

For power. For passion. For glory.

The epic story of the Knights Templar.

Born in 1150 to a noble Swedish family and coming of age at a monastery under the tutelage of a Cistercian monk and a former Knight Templar, young Arn Magnusson is sent to fulfill his destiny beyond the cloister walls. But the world awaiting him is a place at odds with his monastic ways. And when the murder of a king engulfs Western GĂ–taland into a whirlwind of intrigue and ruthless power plays, headstrong and naive Arn is forced to leave the woman he loves behind and take up arms to battle infidels in the Holy Land.

The first book in the international bestselling Crusades Trilogy, this thrilling epic of betrayal, faith, blood, and love sets "a Shakespearian quest for power" (Corriere della Sera, Italy) against the backdrop of the Holy Wars, witnessed through a vibrant, unorthodox lens.

The Templar Knight

A knight in the Holy Land.
A woman in the frozen north.
A war that kept them apart . . .

The second volume in the internationally bestselling trilogy begun with The Road to Jerusalem—the critically acclaimed epic "destined to become a classic" (Sharon Kay Penman)

Exiled to the Holy Land for two decades, Arn Magnusson has risen in the ranks of the Knights Templar, serving as master of the order's Gaza fortress. Among the last bastion of God's holy warriors determined to save Jerusalem from the Muslims, Arn has cultivated a shrewd understanding of his enemy. Known as Al-Ghouti among the Saracens—Saladin and his Muslim followers—he is renowned as a man of compassion, strength, and faith.

Yet neither time nor distance can lessen the pain of separation from his beloved Cecilia. Confined to a cloister back home in western Gotaland, Arn's betrothed is a pawn in a war between clans vying for control of the crown. Yearning for him and their newborn son, who is being raised by relatives, Cecilia must also endure the cruelties of a vindictive abbess from a rival clan.

When an accident of fate brings together Arn and Saladin, a friendship is forged that will alter the course of the Templar knight's life, and the history of Jerusalem itself. After the bloody Battle of Hattin, Arn finally becomes a free man. But the road home is long and treacherous, and he is uneasy about the fate that awaits him and uncertain whether his betrothed still lives.

Broadening the scope of Arn's epic path to redemption, The Templar Knight continues the story of the founding of a nation—and of the warrior and the love that made it possible.

And, Book 3, coming out in July 2011:

Birth of the Kingdom

Exiled from his home and the woman he loves, Arn de Gotha became one of fiercest and most feared warriors of the Knights Templar. But now that Jerusalem has been lost to the man who saved him—his longtime enemy and trusted friend, Saladin—the weary nobleman, ravaged by wounds and illness, can finally return to his beloved Sweden.

In the twenty years he has been gone, warring clans have torn Arn’s homeland apart. Determined to reunite it under the Folkung lineage and establish lasting peace, he sets off with a band of skilled craftsmen and doctors from the Holy Land whose talents and knowledge are unknown to the Northern world. And there is his beloved Celia. Arn can only pray that their love has endured, and that it can sustain his new quest: to create a new people, a new society—both Christian and Muslim, craftsmen and warriors—with Arn at its helm.

A rousing, satisfying conclusion to an unforgettable and original epic, Birth of the Kingdom tells the story of the founding of a nation, and the undying love that made it possible.

Mark says:
"Jan Guillou is a Swedish author whose main character is Arn.

In the first novel, Arn sires a child on his beloved, before their marriage. As penance,he must serve as a Templar knight in Jerusalem for 20 years,while his betrothed must enter a convent for the same length of time.
The second book opens with Arn as a commander of the Templar fortress of Gaza. His time of penance is now drawing to a close,but he will fight in the battles of Montgisard and Hattin before he is released from his vows. The final book chronicles Arn's return home and what transpires thereafter in Sweden in the late 1100's and early 1200's.

I have found these novels compelling and excellent reading."

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