30 March 2017

A Discovered Diamond review of DEFENDER of JERUSALEM by Helena P. Schrader

Amazon UK £7.18 £18.99
Amazon US $8.95 $26.95
Amazon CA $35.17


Biographical Fiction /  military
12th Century Crusades
Book#2 of a trilogy

This is the second volume of a series set during the Crusades, depicting the life of Balian d’Ibelin who was, in book one, an impoverished knight but good friend to the leper king of Jerusalem, Baldwin IV.

He is now a baron, married to the dowager queen, and deeply involved with court politics while dealing with the trials of family life. Crisis follows crisis in Christian-held Jerusalem. Baldwin is dying – a successor must be chosen, and Jerusalem is under siege by Saladin. Events occur almost as if watching a fast-paced movie as the political events unravel. 

Mentioning a movie: because of the in-depth historical detail I did find myself wondering (at those times when I wanted more story and less author's knowledge) whether the idea behind this series was as a counterblast to Kingdom of Heaven's somewhat poor historical portrayal of a character who Ms Schrader clearly loves, and knows a lot about. The author concentrates more on the historical detail - in a little too much depth in places - rather than the story, which I felt caused the character development to suffer a little. So large on history for those who know and love this period, lacking in fiction for readers seeking a straightforward adventure story. I do wonder if the covers could also be slightly better designed  for this series, a little more sophisticated rather than a somewhat obvious spin-off from Scott's movie? Also, maybe a little pricey for a kindle version?


Having said that, for lovers of historical detail about the Crusades this is probably a must - it can be read as a stand-alone, but I recommend starting at the beginning with Knight of Jerusalem.

© Anne Holt
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