After the First Crusade, nine knights offered to serve as the core of a fighting force on behalf of the Patriarch of Jerusalem. Their mandate: to protect Christians making pilgrimage to the Holy Land. In time the Templars would occupy quarters on the Temple Mount, now the Al Aqsa Mosque.
Within fifty years this brotherhood, attracting noblemen and dedicated fighters, had exploded into a great and fearful army, richly endowed by monarchs and the Catholic church.
This is the setting for Jerusalem by Cecelia Holland, just released by E-Reads after an absence of fifteen years.
Set in the Holy Land in 1187 A.D., Holland’s historical novel masterfully explores the conspiracies and political maneuvers leading up to the Third Crusade. Following a stunning victory at the Battle of Ramleh, Norman Templar Rannulf Fitzwilliam must negotiate a truce with the enemy and determine the order of succession to the throne of Baudouin, the young Christian king dying of leprosy. However, Rannulf’s instincts are for battle, not diplomacy. Temptation and betrayal await him around every corner. The question is not whether he can survive on the battlefield, but whether he can survive the politics and protocol of the royal court.
Non nobis, Domine, non nobis, sed Nomine Tuo da gloriam. “Not to us, O Lord, but to Your Name give glory.” This motto highlights the vows of chastity and humility taken by the Knights Templar. But, it also speaks to their role as ferocious warriors, passionately and bloodily seeking out glory for their God.
“Holland’s masterful layering of subplots, historical detail and multiple perspectives makes for a great read.” —Publisher’s Weekly
“She brings as much suspense to political intrigue as to the sprawling battle scenes at which she excels.” —The New York Times Book Review
Jerusalem serves as a companion for The Great Siege by Ernle Bradford, another great chronicle of the conflict between Christianity and Islam that raged throughout Europe and the Holy Land for half a millennium – and indeed smolders to this very day, threatening to consume both civilizations. Though the Siege of Malta took place some 400 years after the events in Holland’s novel, readers of both books will recognize the same uncompromising faith that she depicts in her breathtaking novel. (See The Great Siege of Malta: When Western Civilization Hung on One Man’s Will)