Val J. Jensen II

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A medieval tale of adventure, forbidden love, and a troubled crusade to Jerusalem.


Date of release

July, 2018


In the year 1096, the Kingdom of France is set ablaze with 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 and enraged his lord. His forbidden relationship with Channah, a Jew, forces him into the service of a bishop and on a doomed crusade.

Anseau's charge is to chronicle a ragtag pilgrim army marching to reclaim Jerusalem. In doing so, it offers him absolution and a way back to his love. Anseau finds, however, in order to survive, he must prove himself a leader, overcome power feuds, weave through internal subterfuge, and fight an imperial plot designed to sabotage the pilgrims before they even reach Constantinople. Should Anseau succeed, he still must face the formidable Sultan of Rûm. 

Meanwhile, Channah and her family come under attack by a different band of crusading pilgrims, and though Anseau doesn't know it, his fate rests with Channah's ability to persevere despite enormous odds. 

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 this quest. It's been over six years since I typed the first word, and the story has taken many forms, but it is now ready to be heard. 


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Shortlisted for the 2017 Chaucer International Book Award from Chanticleer Book Reviews

 Historical Fiction Pre-1750s

Historical Fiction Pre-1750s



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About the Author

val jensen warsaw poland

Growing up in a military family, Val got an early dose of wanderlust and exposure to different cultures. He was born in upstate New York but left at the age of five. And his travels went something like this: The desert of California >  Japan, the land of Gundam and Dragon ball Z > Back to the beaches and bays of California > The jungle and humidity of Guam, where he graduated high school > to California where he graduated from the University of Redlands with a BA in Psychology, and where he found acting > Los Angeles to attend acting school.

He joined the Loft Studio while working as a hawker at a movie theater on Universal City Walk. After two years of acting and playing the drums in a band, Val decided on a different life and moved to Oceanside where he worked at the San Diego Union Tribune before heading back to school for his first MA degree. He packed up and left for Israel to study history, culture, and language. He ended up spending three years in Israel altogether and obtained two Master degrees. After returning to the U.S., he interned in D.C. for journalism and in think tanks before entering the U.S. State Department where he has been ever since.   


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FUn Fact

I met my wife through Instagram and we first physically met at a Medieval festival in Gotland, Sweden. 

If you would not be forgotten as soon as you are dead, either write something worth reading or do things worth writing.

-Benjamin Franklin