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The Road to Jerusalem: Book One of the Crusades Trilogy [NOOK Book]

Overview

For power. For passion. For glory. The epic story of the knights templar.

Born in 1150 to a noble family in the Kingdom of Western Götaland, young Arn Magnusson is marked early on by a miraculous and fateful event. When the boy inexplicably recovers after falling from the parapet of his ancestral home, his mother finds herself beholden to a promise made in a moment of prayer. Arn, second-born son of Magnus Folkesson, will live his life in the...

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The Road to Jerusalem: Book One of the Crusades Trilogy

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Overview

For power. For passion. For glory. The epic story of the knights templar.

Born in 1150 to a noble family in the Kingdom of Western Götaland, young Arn Magnusson is marked early on by a miraculous and fateful event. When the boy inexplicably recovers after falling from the parapet of his ancestral home, his mother finds herself beholden to a promise made in a moment of prayer. Arn, second-born son of Magnus Folkesson, will live his life in the service of God—sent from his family to do holy work and to prepare for a position in the priory.

At Varnhem monastery, Arn comes of age under the tutelage of Father Henri, a Cistercian monk devoted to his aristocratic pupil's education. However, grammar, math, and logic are not the only lessons: Brother Guilbert, the monastery blacksmith and former Knight Templar, finds Arn adept at training of a very different kind. Observing the boy's extraordinary talent with horse, sword, and bow, Father Henri, trusting in God's will, sends his charge into the world to fulfill a destiny that lies beyond the cloister walls.

Returning home, Arn finds his monastic habits at odds with his clan's old and tested ways. Yet his family soon discovers that Arn has learned more than poetry and farm work, and he proves himself useful at a time when he is needed most. The murder of a king has brought Western Götaland into a whirlwind of intrigue, and cunning lords from East and West are vying for power. And, when Arn meets the lovely Cecilia, he discovers this new and dangerous world holds other surprises too. Before he can claim her hand, however, the headstrong and naïve noble makes a fateful mistake that will wrench him from his love and send him to a foreign war—to the Holy Land to battle infidels for twenty years.

From the frozen landscapes of Northern Europe to the bloody battlefields of the Middle East, Arn will face brave knights, powerful queens, and treacherous kings. The first book in the international bestselling Crusades Trilogy, this thrilling epic of betrayal, faith, blood, and love sets "a Shakespearian quest for power" (Corriere della Sera, Italy) against the backdrop of the Holy Wars, witnessed through a vibrant, unorthodox lens.

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Editorial Reviews

Diana Gabaldon
…a great book…Despite the intricate plot, The Road to Jerusalem is a surprisingly understated book overall. Skillfully written and translated, it's detailed, but sparingly so…[Guillou] has a remarkable grasp of the mind-set of the period and always puts the emphasis where it would be for the people involved at that time, rather than ours. Some readers may find that disorienting, but a capacity for disturbing readers' assumptions is even more a hallmark of good historical fiction than the inclusion of the Knights Templar.
—The Washington Post
Publishers Weekly

Guillou has enjoyed smashing success in Sweden and Europe with his Crusades Trilogy, but American readers may be disappointed in this slow-starting first volume, which, for all its complexity and intriguing premise, doesn't get anywhere near the Holy Land. The epic kicks off in 1150 Sweden with the birth of Arn Magnusson, the second son of a minor nobleman. Arn is sent to a cloister where monks teach him to read, write and work hard. But Brother Guilbert, a former Knight Templar who fought in the crusades, also teaches Arn horsemanship, archery and swordplay. During Arn's training, his family is involved with court intrigues, treachery and war. Arn, meanwhile, commits cardinal sins and is excommunicated and ordered to serve as a Knight Templar. However, by the book's close, he's no closer to Jerusalem than he was when he was born (though a lot of colorful medieval Swedish history has been presented). Perhaps the next two volumes will be more focused and exciting. (May)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
School Library Journal
Adult/High School—This novel not only tells one man's story, but Sweden's as well. Christianity was still a new religion to this region in the 1100s, and it is through the protagonist's experiences that readers see how cultures clash, merge, and change. Saved from certain death by the grace of God and the promise of his mother to give him to the Church, young Arn Magnusson is sent to be raised by the monks of Varnhem. He is taught all the monastic skills and learns archery, swordplay, and horsemanship. His exceptional talent in all of these areas makes it clear that Arn's vocation lies outside the monastery. And so he is sent home. Right from the start he falls prey to the greed, lust, and politics of common people. Every action he takes directs his destiny and creates the circumstances that force him and his true love, Cecilia, into 20 years of penance and sets him literally on the road to Jerusalem as a Knights Templar. The politics are challenging and tribal life is described within the context of its time. Offer this book to students who are interested in big, fat historical novels, who like to ponder big ideas, for whom discussions about Christian theology would be intriguing, or who are interested in military fiction and strategy. The Swedish names can be confusing, but the maps, plus the list of characters, help to sort things out.—Connie Williams, Kenilworth Jr. High, Petaluma, CA
Kirkus Reviews
A young boy grows to manhood in medieval Sweden in the first volume of The Crusades Trilogy, the second of Guillou's many Swedish novels to be published in the United States (Enemy's Enemy, 1993). In the year of our Lord 1150, Sigrid, wife of Magnus of Western Gotaland, is great with child when she has a holy vision of a young man bearing a shield marked with a red cross. Moved, Sigrid donates her inheritance to the Cistercian monks, incidentally buying the good favor of the king and persuading her husband to move to the monks' more profitable estate. Five years later, her child, Arn, falls from a great height. After he lies apparently dead for hours, the Cistercians' prayers resurrect him. In gratitude, Sigrid and Magnus promise their son to God, and he is subsequently turned over to monks. In an abbey, the young Arn is raised in all innocence, brilliantly skilled in French, Latin, archery and swordsmanship, the archetype of the perfect knight. But when they release this cloistered child into the world as a man, he knows neither the scheming politics of feudal ties nor his own strength. Arn must wade through the violence and greed of the clans of Scandinavia in order to find God's plan for him, his road to Jerusalem. A resolutely medieval world-bleak, hidebound, saturated with religious faith, full of both miracles and almost untraceably complex political intrigue-but one shaped with enough compassion and skill to appeal to contemporary readers, who will be eagerly awaiting the next volume of the saga.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780061869884
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 4/21/2009
  • Series: Crusades Trilogy Series , #1
  • Sold by: HARPERCOLLINS
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 448
  • Sales rank: 7,372
  • File size: 688 KB

Meet the Author

Swedish-born journalist Jan Guillou has won several international awards, including the Prix France Culture. He is the creator of two of the most successful series ever published in Sweden—the Hamilton series and the Crusades Trilogy. His books have been translated into more than twenty languages.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 39 )
Rating Distribution

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(20)

4 Star

(8)

3 Star

(5)

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(1)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 39 Customer Reviews
  • Posted November 19, 2010

    Caught My Mind and Soul Up and In!!!!

    I went to choose a book from another author I know well. But this book was shelved just above books by the author I sought....gratefully "The Road To Jerusalem" beckoned to me. I am mama of 4, can be busy every minute. This time, the places and mostly the character's jumped inside of my soul. My little wonderful world has been It's like I have an "event" to go to. Thank you for such a completely unique surprise in place, time, etc., etc. Reading your book has delighted my mind and soul.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 11, 2009

    more from this reviewer

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    Not bad...not good. Kinda easy absorbing.

    I was sick of what I was reading and needed a quick change, this was it...I was not sure but I took a chance. The choice was ok, esay read, somewhat interesting...Sweden and the Crusades, Scandanavia, human nature. Royal characters and the thralls and monasteries.

    3 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 3, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    a fabulous historical thriller

    In 1150 Sweden Arn Magnusson is born; the second son of an aristocratic Swedish family. While still a child, he is air lifted by a rock, which when he lands below the castle should have killed him. Instead he returns from the dead leading his parents to believe he is special especially with the hair covering his forehead from the day he was born. His parents send Arn to a monastery where the monks teach him to read and write. However former knight, Brother Guilbert becomes his mentor teaching him archery and swordplay as well as guiding him into understanding the metaphysical spiritual realm.---------------

    Arn is attracted Cecilia; especially loving her voice when she sings. However Cecilia's jealous sister Katarina seduces Arn and subsequently confesses her sin. Excommunicated for his transgressions Arn is sentenced to serve his penitence as a Knight Templar for two decades in the Holy Land. ----------

    The aptly named THE ROAD TO JERUSALEM (Arn is still in Europe by book's end) is a fabulous historical thriller that provides a refreshing perspective on twelfth century religion and society in Sweden. Arn is a terrific lead character who holds the vivid story line together; the support cast enhances the deep look into Swedish medieval society while also propelling the plot forward. Crusades historical readers will appreciate this opening gamut and anxiously await the hero's return hopefully in Jerusalem.------------

    Harriet Klausner

    3 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 29, 2012

    I learned about Swedish history

    Though billed as a novel about the Knights Templar this opening novel is more about the fight for the Swedish crown in the 1100's. The love story dominates and really the second novel in this series is more about the Knights Templar as the Christians lose hold of the holy land.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 16, 2010

    For historical fiction aficionados this is an interesting topic for that historical timeframe. Who knew the Goths in Scandinavia were part of the crusades.

    An interesting look at the life of the Goths in the Middle Ages. Particularly in Scandinavia. Home life, religion, govenment all intertwined in a story of a young boy brought up in a monastery to become a warrior and travel to the Holy Land as a Knight Templar.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 15, 2009

    Terrific Summer Reading

    This is one of the best books that I have read in years and immediately set me out on a quest for the second book in the trilogy. I might have to learn Spanish!!!

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 26, 2014

    Great book

    I wanted to read something different than my usual crime stories and I'm glad I did. I really enjoyed this book.

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  • Posted February 10, 2012

    Recommend!!!

    Coulnd't put it down. Can't wait to read the two sequals.

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  • Posted February 8, 2011

    amazing

    loved it throughout, an amazing read

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