A medieval tale of adventure, forbidden love, and a troubled crusade to Jerusalem.
In the year 1096, the Kingdom of France is set ablaze by righteous fire. Men, women, brigand, and knight - with a promise of forgiveness of sins - answer the pope’s call to retake Jerusalem. In a village along the Oise River, Anseau of Valois, a young ploughman, has defied his Church, enraged his lord, and disappointed his father. His forbidden relationship with Channah, a Jew, forces him into the service of a bishop.
The bishop trains Anseau to chronicle a ragtag pilgrim army marching to reclaim Jerusalem. Completing this offers him absolution and a way back to Channah. However, after distinguishing himself in battle, Anseau proves himself a leader and becomes ensnared in the politics and subterfuge of a wayward campaign. Should Anseau survive, he must fight friend and foe, ally with the most unlikely of companions, and lead a resistance against the formidable Sultan of Rûm. He must become a warrior poet.
Meanwhile, Channah and her family come under attack by a different band of crusading pilgrims, and though Anseau doesn't know it, his fate and the fate of his army rests with Channah's ability to persevere and win the graces of an emperor.
The idea of writing a fictional account of The People's Crusade popped into my head while having a discussion with my best friend about the crusades. Crusade and medieval history always fascinated me, and after being inspired by that conversation and a couple non-fiction books I had read in my first MA degree, I decided to embark on the quest. It's been many years since I typed the first word, and the story has taken numerous forms, but it is now ready to be heard.
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