Wild-eyed evangelist Kuku Peter inflames the pauper hordes of Europe, raising a violent peasant army of 30,000 men, women, children and elderly intent on recapturing Jerusalem from Islam. Untrained, armed with farm implements, lacking provisions, this ragtag mob scorches a path across Europe and into Byzantium, leaving behind a horrid trail of intolerance and destruction.
Young Bishop Tristan de Saint-Germain is sent by the Pope to stop Kuku Peter’s ‘march of madness,’ but ends by trailing it all the way to Constantinople. Arriving there, he unexpectedly discovers beautiful Mala the Romani awaiting him, still hoping to pull him from the grasp of Pope Urban and the Vatican. As their heart-breaking, obsessive past unearths itself while promising resurrection, the future of Christendom hangs in the balance as Kuku Peter’s renegade army tramps into the Sultanate of Rüm... and destiny.
Clinging to each other in defiant desperation, driven by hope and an illicit love forbidden by the Church, Tristan and Mala struggle to survive the raging currents of race, war, and faith as humanity approaches the greatest cultural war of all time... the Holy Crusades.