1189. Richard the Lionheart’s long-awaited goal comes true as he is crowned King of England. Setting his own kingdom in order, he prepares to embark on a gruelling crusade to reclaim Jerusalem.
With him on every step of the journey is Ferdia, his loyal Irish follower. Together they travel from southern France to Italy, to the kingdom of Sicily and beyond.
Finally poised to sail to the Holy Land, Richard finds a bitter two-year-long siege awaiting him. And with it, the iconic Saracen leader responsible for the loss of Jerusalem, Saladin.
No one can agree who should fill the empty throne of the Kingdom of Jerusalem and Saladin’s huge army shadows Richard’s every move. Conditions are brutal, the temperatures boiling, and on the dusty field of Arsuf, the Lionheart and his soldiers face their ultimate test…
Book one of this series was one of my favorite books last year, so it was a given that Crusader would be high up on my TBR list, one i would start the min it landed. As always with me i have the feeling before it arrives that the second book in a series that has started with such a bang may disappoint, but i think i’m starting to lose that old concern, because Ben like lots of the other regular authors i read are now smashing it out of the park with every book, never resting on the praise already received they strive for bigger and better things. Crusader is another absolute triumph, in many ways better than Lionheart, where Lionheart was introducing us to characters , those characters in Crusader are now much loved and well known, every action and danger is keenly felt with the authors brilliant writing style.
Crusader now takes our main character (Rufus) and the royal court on crusade, but mixed in before they leave is the politics and back stabbing of nobility, Richard must leave things well cared for and he must block as many potential moves by his devious brother and the French King. The Journey to Acre is also fraught with danger, battles and love as the royal court makes it way to the holy Land… that Journey and the eventual battles against Saladin may have the reader shaking their head and saying…. No Way…. that’s too far fetched…. Its not !! Ben Kane is meticulous in his research and the more far fetched sounding the battle or the outcome, the more real it actually is…. Wait until the battle outside Joppa… its just astounding, and no wonder he was called Richard the Lionheart, the man was an amazing leader… and often bonkers in his bravery!
All of this is written in a brilliant character driven style that anyone who has read Ben Kane will know well… and if you are new to his work… you will love.
Ben has taken the crown of Best book in 2021 (so far)…. and it will take something amazing to knock him off that top spot…. especially as Rufus is now one of my all time fav Historical Fiction Characters.
Very Very highly recommended