Hollywood made him a blacksmith; Arab chronicles said he was "like a king." He served a leper, but defied Richard the Lionheart. He fought Saladin to a standstill, yet retained his respect. Rather than dally with a princess, he married a dowager queen -- and founded a dynasty. He was a warrior and a diplomat both: Balian d'Ibelin
Balian has survived the devastating defeat on the Horns of Hattin, and walked away a free man after the surrender of Jerusalem, but he is baron of nothing in a kingdom that no longer exists. Haunted by the tens of thousands of Christians now enslaved by Saladin, he is determined to regain what has been lost. The arrival of a vast crusading army under the soon-to-be-legendary Richard the Lionheart offers hope -- but also conflict, as natives and crusaders clash and French and English quarrel. This is Part III of a biographical novel about Balian d'Ibelin. The first two books in the series, Knight of Jerusalem and Defender of Jerusalem, were both BRAG Medallion honorees. Defender of Jerusalem won the 2016 Chaucer Award for Historical Fiction set in the Middle Ages and was also awarded the Silver (second place) for Spiritual/Religious Fiction in the 2016 Feathered Quill Book Awards. It was a finalist for the 2016 M.M. Bennetts Award for Historical Fiction.
About the Author
For more about the crusader kingdoms, visit defenderofjerusalem.com or follow her blog: defendingcrusaderkingdoms.blogspot.com.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
A historical trilogy needs a great deal of substance. When it comes to this writer and her work, this particular reviewer once stated that for a trilogy comprised of very large books, a writer needs to pick a subject that will entrance, excite and lure readers so deeply, so emotionally, that they never want to stop reading. Helena P. Schrader has done just that throughout this entire ride. And now...the grand finale. Beginning in Knight of Jerusalem and continuing in Defender of Jerusalem, this is one of the best historical series ever written. Readers of these books have walked through the confusing, romantic and amazing time of the Crusades, meeting both valiant characters and others whose souls were as dark as night. Everybody had a plan back then, and would do anything to achieve it. In the last book, readers watched Jerusalem under siege by the Kurdish leader, the sultan of Egypt and Damascus, Salah ad-Din Yusuf. He wormed his way through life and combined two forces, Shiite Egypt and Sunnite Syria, into one major force that went against the Christians. King Baldwin IV was fighting leprosy all his life, yet had to find his strength and prepare for battle. And main character, Balian d’Ibelin, was still the lone source of loyalty to the king. Now, in Envoy of Jerusalem, the Christian city of Jerusalem is solidly in the hands of Salah ad-Din. With his takeover, the people who are poor and cannot pay a ransom for their freedom are being sold into slavery. In Tyre, in October of 1187, Balian and his wife, Maria, are among the sufferers. It does seem as if the Holy Land is gone, but Balian’s heroic belief and strength has him taking it upon himself to try and negotiate the freedom of the Christians still left in the city. There is hope. Of course, with hope comes more battles. Beloved man and warrior of many, Richard the Lionheart, now graces the scene with his army and takes his leap into legendary status. He takes center stage, leading the fight to reclaim the Holy Land. All through the battles Balian becomes the ultimate mediator, seeing the hope yet also dealing with the horrors that come as the French and English people, as well as the Christian and Muslim ideas clash. A very detailed drama full of historical truths intertwined with a fantastically written tale, Balian solidifies himself as a marvelous character; one that was able to challenge all the supposed heroes and villains of his time as he married a dowager queen and brought about an astounding dynasty. Begin at the beginning, however. Not because this is ‘too’ confusing to be a standalone, but because every page of this series will inspire a reader to move through the battles, lay eyes on these crusader kingdoms, and cheer for a man whose name could not compete with those in high places, yet one who owned the strongest will you can possibly imagine. Quill says: The zest this author has for her subject is dramatic, intense and something that will never be forgotten!
I must admit that I was at a disadvantage and a bit lost at the beginning of Dr. Helena P. Schrader’s book, Envoy of Jerusalem: Balian d’Ibelin and the Third Crusade. I had not read Dr. Schrader’s first two novels of this series, Knight of Jerusalem and Defender of Jerusalem. My knowledge about Jerusalem and the surrounding areas prior to the Third Crusade was vaguely based upon one of my favorite movies, The Kingdom of Heaven, which as much as I admire Ridley Scott's work, his non-adherence to historical fact is well documented. Balian, Sibylla, and Guy de Lusignan were merely characters in a fictionalized love story. Furthermore, in my fiction and non-fiction readings of this period, the resident Christian and Muslim aristocracy were never more than names. However, Dr. Schrader’s attention to historical accuracy and her ability to create complex personalities behind these names helped me connect to their stories and place real people into the tragic circumstances they were facing. Although the common people (other characters of note) are fictional, through their eyes one sees the universal and continual victimization of war upon humankind. Scenes of luxurious living and luxury lost; dungeons and negotiations, loyalties and betrayals, battles and brutal deaths, siege camps and everyday living are brought to life. The intimate portrayal of how each king, queen, baron, knight, lady-in-waiting, foot soldier, common man, woman and child coped, or could not cope, brought immediacy to the destruction that was taking place. King Richard’s arrival brought me to familiar times and events. However, Dr. Schrader’s deep understanding of the circumstances leading to the king’s ultimate failure to retake Jerusalem, and the consequences for the remaining Christians, revealed new dimensions and understandings to the events played out during this divisive period. Envoy of Jerusalem is an engrossing read and more importantly, an accurate depiction of past battles fought over ideologies and the consequences that continue to this day. I highly recommend this at times brutal but entertaining historical novel. It is a window to a better understanding of our collective past. Please note however, you should read this three part series from the beginning to end, not from the end to the beginning and middle, which is what I will be doing! Elizabeth Andropolis
We are proud to announce that ENVOY OF JERUSALEM by Helena P. Schrader is a B.R.A.G.Medallion Honoree. This tells a reader that this book is well worth their time and money!