Why Does the Heathen Rage?: A Novel of the Crusades / J. Stephen Roberts

It is twenty-four years since the First Crusaders conquered Jerusalem. Robert of Bures is a young knight whose father rose to power and prosperity in the new Crusader kingdom, and whose uncle died in battle with the Saracens. Nothing matters more to him than defending the Holy Sepulcher, the tomb of Jesus Christ, more sacred than any shrine in Christendom. Robert has been a trusted retainer to Baldwin II, King of Jerusalem, a veteran of the First Crusade who now rules the beleaguered Christian outpost in the Holy Land, but his friendship with the King's daughter, the beautiful and headstrong Princess Melisende, is growing unfittingly close. In Aleppo, the Turkish warlord Balak has raised a vast Saracen army and promises to drive the Christians into the sea. King Baldwin II is short of men and funds, yet his faith in God in unshakable, and he inspires passionate loyalty in his troops. His daughter Melisende feels the weight of the future pressing down upon her, for her father has no son, and she is heir to a Kingdom that her people believe would be better inherited by a warrior prince. Why Does the Heathen Rage? explores a magnificent but rarely examined chapter in Crusades history. The Kingdom of Jerusalem is young, and beset from all sides with enemies. In the face of unending trials, King Baldwin II and his knights fight with zeal, ready to die for the city that Christ made sacred with his blood: Jerusalem.
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