Crusade [NOOK Book]


The second volume in the internationally bestselling Brethren trilogy, Crusade is gripping historical fiction that “grows more relevant by the day” (Raymond Khoury, bestselling author of The Last Templar)

An international bestseller, Crusade is a fast-paced medieval adventure portraying the rising tide of political pressures that led East ...
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The second volume in the internationally bestselling Brethren trilogy, Crusade is gripping historical fiction that “grows more relevant by the day” (Raymond Khoury, bestselling author of The Last Templar)

An international bestseller, Crusade is a fast-paced medieval adventure portraying the rising tide of political pressures that led East and West to war in the 13th century.

After years of bloodshed, peace finally reigns in the Middle East, in part due to the efforts of Will Campbell and a mysterious group known as the Brethren. However, a cabal of ruthless Western merchants aims to reignite war in the Holy Land, while Prince Edward—once a trusted member of the Brethren—has made a promise to the pope: he will take the Cross to Jerusalem and lead a new crusade. To survive the escalating conflict and protect his family, Will must harness all his knowledge and courage.
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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Young follows up her high-profile debut, Brethren, with this continuation of a trilogy about conflict in the Middle East nearly eight centuries ago. Even as the Brethren struggle to keep the peace, another Crusade threatens. Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781440630798
  • Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 7/29/2008
  • Series: Brethren Trilogy
  • Sold by: Penguin Group
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 512
  • Sales rank: 172,099
  • File size: 921 KB

Meet the Author

Robyn Young has worked as a creative writing teacher, financial advisor, folk singer, and music festival organizer, and has traveled extensively in Europe and Egypt. She has a masters in creative writing from the University of Sussex.

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Reading Group Guide

NOTE: We recognize that reading is a personal experience, and we hope that the author interview and questions below will provide a springboard to provoke a lively discussion.


For years, a secret society within the Templars, the Anima Templi, has dedicated itself to the preservation of peace between the three great religions of the world. William Campbell, one of the newest members to grace the halls of the Temple at Acre, has been intricately involved with the Anima Templi’s activities, but his past actions have caused his place within the society to be tenuous at best. Now, caught between trying to prove himself worthy of both the Templars and Anima Templi, and haunted by his past, he believes he’s stumbled upon a plot that could mean the end of the fragile peace that exists between the Muslim empire of the East and the Christian Crusaders.

At the same time, Kalawun al-Alfi, chief lieutenant to Sultan Baybars, is trying to maintain the peace from Cairo. Others in the royal court favor driving the Christians from the Middle East for good, but fortunately for Kalawun, Baybars is more preoccupied with keeping the Mongols from invading and taking any more of his vast empire. The Sultan won’t be distracted for long, though: his own son and heir, Baraka Khan, is being influenced and manipulated by members of Baybars’ court, and may prove the biggest challenge to the peace that Kalawun has fought so hard for.

In this sequel to Brethren, internationally bestselling author Robyn Young has continued to bring 13th century Europe and the Holy Land to life, peopling it with vivid characters that are complex, changing, and constantly engaging. Crusade is an epic within an epic, about the battle for the Kingdom of Jerusalem, and the political powers, truth seekers, and betrayers in the Middle East and beyond.


Robyn Young is the author of the internationally bestselling Brethren trilogy, which includes Brethren, Crusade, and the forthcoming novel Requiem. She has traveled extensively in Europe and Egypt and has a Masters in Creative Writing from the University of Sussex. During an eclectic career, she has been a creative writing teacher, financial advisor, folk singer, and music festival organizer. She lives in Brighton, England.


Q. Why historical fiction? What attracts you to the genre, and what do you see as its pitfalls and dangers (as a writer)?

It was the story of the Templars that first attracted me, rather than the genre itself. The interest in history I now have has been a result of this project rather than its cause. When I began work on the Brethren trilogy I hadn’t studied history since school. Back then it was Victorian architecture and Vietnam, neither of which resonated much in me. History was just facts and figures. I hadn’t understood that history is a story, is filled with stories, stretching back, decade upon decade, foundations of our culture, our countries, ourselves. I have always had a love of storytelling and it was immensely gratifying to see these rich narratives unfolding before me as I embarked on the research for the novels. There are, of course, pitfalls with this genre, and the further back in time you go the more challenging it can become. For a start, it’s very easy to get swept up in the history and the detail, more difficult to know when to stop reading and begin writing. Coupled with this, historical writers have to be wary of just how much research they put into the final text. I used only around a quarter of what I actually researched in the finished books. Too much detail can slow the pace of the story and so you’re always walking a fine line between being the historian and being the novelist. Obviously, there’s also the danger of getting your facts wrong, or not being able to easily find the information you want, which can mean delays. I do a great deal of work to ensure accuracy, and as a safety net I employ a historian to read the manuscript.

Q. Similarly, what attracted you to this particular time period? What about the Crusades appealed to your imagination? Did you intend to write about a period that reflected many of the same tensions that we’re experiencing today between the East and the West?

The knights initially attracted me to the period, in particular their dramatic downfall at the hands of the King of France in 1307, when they were accused of heresy. But soon after I began researching the Order of the Temple, the story expanded to include the great events and people of this time: the Crusades, royal assassinations, court intrigue, and political turmoil. I love the richness of the period and the feeling there must have been, as trade lines and borders opened up, that the world was new and waiting to be discovered. In the early stages I felt very much that I was covering ancient history. This was all before 9/11 and it was only after that point, when I was already working on the third draft of the first novel, that events in the book and events in the world began to reflect one another.

Q. How far do you see yourself going with this particular set of characters and time period, or will the series end withThe Fall of the Templars (due out in 2009)?

The Brethren trilogy ends with The Fall of the Templars, which covers events leading up to the Templars’ demise and the wars between England, Scotland, and France. That book is already finished and I’m about to begin a new trilogy on Robert the Bruce and the Scottish wars of independence, also set in this period. It’s a story of mystery, murder, family feuds, and turbulent romance, and one or two characters from the Brethren trilogy may well make an appearance!

Q. You used to teach creative writing. What was your single most important piece of advice for beginning writers? What have you learned since becoming an acclaimed novelist that you would stress to those writers who are attempting to get their first works published?

So many authors I know have had such different experiences when it comes to both the writing itself and to becoming published that it’s almost impossible to say exactly what enables an aspiring writer to do either. Some things all these published writers have in common, however, are perseverance, a willingness to polish and craft their work, and, perhaps most importantly, a deep desire to tell the story, to get it down on paper, to share it with the world. I think too many people assume it’s an easy thing to write and publish a novel. It isn’t. Finding an agent, then a publisher is a game of chance and a test of determination. There’s also a certain amount of luck involved and you can’t teach that. I would say first and foremost, write for yourself, not for the market (although being aware of it and its trends can be advantageous), be a reader, read everything, not just the genre you write in, and lastly, don’t be put off by rejections, they are the mark of a real writer, but at the same time, know when to leave one project and move on to the next. Above all, enjoy it!


  • Crusade is filled with an extremely large cast of characters, many of whom we get to know intimately through the course of the novel. Which of these characters did you find the most compelling and complex? Would you have liked to see more of any one particular character?
  • When we are introduced to Will in the first part of the book, he’s under scrutiny from many of his fellow Brethren because of his volatile past. By the end of the book, he’s come to earn the respect of those whom he’d previously alienated. What were the most significant events that brought about this change? Which events changed Will most dramatically, and for the better?
  • Will’s relationship with Elwen is just as complex and changes significantly throughout the book. Is Elwen too forgiving of Will’s behavior? Did you see her as a strong character? Why? Discuss whether her betrayal with Garin and her deception regarding Rose’s paternity makes her a more realistic, but less likeable, character.
  • Will’s relationship with Garin is fraught with contradiction. He despises Garin for his behavior and past betrayal, and yet at certain times in the novel, he comes to Garin’s defense. What family dynamic does their relationship most closely resemble? At the end of the book, were you surprised when Will finally slew Garin, or had you expected him to let Garin live with his physical and emotional pain? Which is the worse fate—being stabbed in the back (literally), or having to live with physical and emotional torment?
  • Was Garin a sympathetic character? When he explains his past actions with Rook and King Edward, he is trying to make both Elwen and Will understand him, and to some extent pity him. At what points in the novel did you feel pity for his character? Which of his actions did you find most despicable and/or inexcusable? Did he meet a fitting end?
  • Aisha, Kalawun’s young daughter and Baraka Khan’s young wife, is a likeable character. In the short space of time that we know her, she reveals herself to be an intelligent, confident young woman who knows very much who she is and what she wants. Did her death in the early chapters of the novel come as a shock, and were you disappointed to see her die? Were there any other characters who met similar fates that shocked you?
  • Like Garin, Baraka Khan is a complex character who does despicable things but is also tortured by low self-esteem and a constant need for approval and a sense of belonging. At what points in the novel did you find him sympathetic? To what degree were his character flaws a direct result of Sultan Baybar’s (admittedly) poor parenting? Where else in the novel are father/son relationships (or friendships resembling father/son relationships), and their implications, explored?
  • Compare and contrast the relationships between Sultan Baybars and Kalawun and Kalawun and Nasir. While Kalawun’s involvement with the Anima Templi could have led to his execution, if he was discovered, do you think that he would have been forgiven by Baybars anyway? Did Baybars value Kalawun in the same way Kalawun valued Nasir?
  • Because of the subject matter, there are many violent scenes in the novel. How did they contribute to your understanding of the world back then? What did they reveal to you, or illustrate for you, that you weren’t aware of before? In particular, discuss the details of the final battle (the conquering of Acre by the Mamluks), and its most significant and/or revealing moments.
  • What parallels did you find between the 13th-century world political climate and that of the 21st century? Discuss the significance of the problems that occur in both centuries—and what these problems say about human nature and our ability to change and learn from past mistakes.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 32 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 32 Customer Reviews
  • Posted June 11, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Wow! Another great book!

    Couldn' put it down, another great escape!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    A superior historical fiction novel

    By 1274, the years of war that has devastated much of the Middle East especially the Holy Land appears over. A shaky peace has finally come to weary people mostly because of the Herculean efforts of the Brethren. However, one of the Brethren Will Campbell fears their cause has been betrayed from within and that hostilities will break out unless the traitor Prince Edward is stopped from meeting his pledge to the Pope that the Cross will soon control Jerusalem. However, Will remains unaware that European war profiteers have found their profits gone since peace has descended on the land so to stir up business they plan a scheme to use Edward as a foolish tool to erupt the Muslin world into a Jihad against the European infidels.-------------- In Egypt, Sultan Baybars¿ heir Baraka has turned a deaf ear towards his fathe who left him with his mother until he was old enough to train as a warrior and then left him with a tutor. Now he ignores his offspring even more since his closest friend died saving his life. Instead Baraka heeds the guidance of soothsayer Khadir who tells him his dad is going to leave him a destroyed kingdom unless he acts. Baybars believes he must fight the powerful Mongol horde while Khadir insists that is not only suicide, but it is the Christians who are the real enemy. A new wave of crusades seems imminent with Will and some of his Brethren peers the only hope to prevent another region wide conflation that could easily spread across the Mediterranean.-------------- The middle book of this superior historical fiction trilogy (see BRETHREN) is a terrific entry as the late thirteenth century Middle East seems on the verge of another Crusade unless Will and his peers can pull off several miracles. The fast-paced story line effortlessly moves back and forth between the subplots and the key cast members are fully developed so that the audience obtains a taste of the medieval age especially in Jerusalem and Cairo in AD 1276.-------------- Harriet Klausner

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 11, 2014

    Excellent Reading

    I quite stumbled upon this author, Robyn Young, and I am very grateful I did. I actually bought the third in her 'Templar' series first, but just a few pages into that one made me realize I wanted to get the set for my personal library. I set aside my original purchase 'The Fall of the Templars', sought out and purchased the first two - 'Brethren' and 'Crusade' so that I could start at the beginning. I would read anything Robyn Young writes! She makes you feel like you are actually experiencing the history you are reading about.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 30, 2012

    To Phoenixstar


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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 17, 2012


    Cool! C u sn!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 27, 2012


    She paces..."i shall always be loyal to my clan..." she murmured, lonely.

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  • Posted August 27, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    This book offers fast paced action, romance and historical detai

    This book offers fast paced action, romance and historical detail of the
    final years of the Latin Kingdom in the Middle East within a cauldron
    of political intrigue. The plot revolves about political intrigue at
    several levels between those that want to engulf the Middle East in
    warfare to revive or destroy the Latin Kingdoms and those that want to
    maintain peace to include the “Brethren” or Anima Templi, a secret
    society within the Templers. It also involves politics and intrigue in
    the Kingdom of Jerusalem over ascension, and at the court of the Mamluks
    between those that want to fight the Mongols and those that want to
    obliterate what is left of the Latin Kingdoms. On other levels the
    intrigue is associated with the competition for influence between the
    Venetians and Genoese and the Templers and the Knights of St. John,
    the attempts of King Edward I of England to solicit funds from the
    Brethren for a war against Scotland, the often inherent conflict between
    the intent of the Templar leadership and the Brethren, and the personal
    completion between Will Campbell and Garin De Lyons, the former Templar
    and toady of King Edward I. Robyn Young’s characters are believably
    human because they are all flawed. Will was not only divided in his
    loyalties between the Templar leadership and the Anima Templi but
    violated his monastic vows to with Elwen, his lover and wife. Elwen,
    her loyalty weakened by loneliness and bitterness, surrenders to Garin.
    The latter surrenders to self loathing, bitterness, wine and drugs
    losing any vestige of integrity. The plot and subplots play out in the
    historically accurate events leading up to the fall of Tripoli and Acre.
    The reader experiences frustration at the failure of the West to offer
    effective assistance, the pettiness and self-interest of those in
    positions of power and leadership in the West and in the Latin Kingdoms,
    and is emotionally drawn in to the desperation of those seeking to
    escape Acre on too few ships as the doomed Frankish defenders attempt to
    delay the inevitable massacre.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 22, 2009

    Not good for much

    Sadly, the book cover was the best part of this book. The plot is old, the writing style trite with no real originality. Characters are predictable. There is no romanticism, and it definitily is not thrilling. Do not recommend it for your book club unless you wish to be kicked out of it. Give it to your worst enemy.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 20, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    A Very Engaging Book

    Crusade, the sequel to Robyn Young's Brethren is one of the best books I have read recently. It is a rich saga full of exciting action and surprising twists. The characters affect you in a way that makes you feel you have actually taken their journery with them. The characters are deeply affecting - flawed human beings that struggle through their weaknesses and mistakes. Some descend to the point beyond redemption but the others manage to rise above themselves and make a difference, but always, there is a price to pay. Robyn's Young words are powerful, her adjectives so descriptive that the images conveyed are very vivid. This (along with Brethren) is a must read for anyone interested in the Crusades and the Templars.

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  • Posted January 27, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    A great read

    If you like the basic subject matter the history of the high middle ages, you will really like this book. It is a good and easy read for the most humble of the literati. Exciting fast paced with strong characters.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 7, 2008

    This book was great just like the first one

    this book was amazing but the only thing is the third book isn't out yet it said it should have been for sale in spring 2008 but its not. well evan tho this book is still amazing everyone should by it just read the first one first.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 23, 2007

    This sequel left me with mixed feelings after a great 1st book

    Crusade is book 2 in a trilogy (The Brethren Trilogy) about the Crusades, the Knights Templar, and a secret society within the Templars that existed to create peace in the Holy Land. I read Book 1, Brethren, in about a week and I eagerly anticipated the arrival of this book (which made my wait about a year) and was somewhat frustrated with the change in tone from book 1 to book 2. Basically, book 1 was thoroughly entrenched in the Templars and their purposes in Outremer (literally 'overseas'), while the fictional characters that were central to the story were on the periphery, color added to the already rich facts and history that were very accurately provided. Book 2 begins with a plot by businessman to force a new Crusade through treachery and deception, a plot that would force the 'Christian' European kings to take up the cross and return to Outremer (current day middle-east), because the Crusades produced business, and vast amounts of money, for many traders. Will Campbell, the main character from Brethren, returns in his place as a knight in the Templars and a member of the Anima Templi, a group that, from within the Templars, works in secret with high ranking members of the Mamluks, the rulers of Egypt and most of Outremer, to end the 200 year war now known as the Crusades. Sultan Baybars, historically speaking one of the greatest rulers of all time in terms of accomplishment, was the ruler of most of Outremer, with the exception of a few chunks of land possessed by the infidels Christians, Venetians, Genoese, and other non-Muslim people. Jerusalem was (and still is, modern news programs remind us of this nightly) the center of the worlds 3 major religions, Christianity (mainly Catholicism during the Crusades), Muslim, and Judaism. All 3 religions believe that they should own the land that is center to their religion. Enter the Crusades. A plot surfaces that could threaten the Christians, the Muslims, everyone in Outremer. Also surfacing are plots to dethrone the men in charge of the Muslims, the city of Jerusalem and the Templars. Also entering the landscape is the powerful horde known as the Mongols (yes, like Genghis Khan), who were looking to take over the world themselves. The Mamluks, as the main power in Outremer were faced with a war on 2 fronts, invading Mongols that were covering Asia like a plague, and the infidel, the Christians, who the Muslims believed defiled their religion and their land simply by being in Outremer. All of these issues tie together to create a story that is excessively rich in character development (perhaps too rich as much time is spent developing characters that I don't believe directly effected the main plot or the final outcome of the novel but they are wonderful characters), rich in history (with accuracy that is brutally honest, aside from the fictional characters), accurate in description of the true historical figures of the time, including their motivations and goals, and somewhat thick with suspense. I believe that suspense is where this book is most disappointing it was not nearly as suspenseful as the first. There is no real climax and the book does not end with a 'cliff-hanger' as the first did. Rather, it just points to where history already tells us we would be headed if we were with Will Campbell. That, of course, is a problem only if you are a student of medieval history, the Crusades, or the Knights Templar, which I am, all 3 (so please accept that I am admittedly opinionated on this subject and not pointing out that the book is flawed by this fact). Brethren, was wonderful. One of my favorite reads recently. This book, however, began slow it took me about 1/3 of the book (maybe 175 pages) to truly gain interest in the story, mainly due to character development that I, personally, don't think was necessary (don't get me wrong, I realize that I did not write this book just my humble opinion). Robyn Young obviously has a tremendous gift and lo

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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    Posted January 27, 2010

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