John d'Ibelin, son of the legendary Balian, will one day defy the most powerful monarch on earth. But first he must survive his apprenticeship as squire to a man determined to build a kingdom on an island ravaged by rebellion. The Greek insurgents have already driven the Knights Templar from the island, and now stand poised to destroy Richard the Lionheart's legacy to the Holy Land: a crusader foothold on the island of Cyprus.
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About the Author
Helena P. Schrader is a career diplomat currently serving in Africa. She earned a PhD in History from the University of Hamburg with a ground-breaking biography of a leader of the German Resistance to Hitler. She has published numerous works of fiction and nonfiction since. Her Jerusalem Trilogy, set in the Holy Land in the late twelfth century, won eleven literary accolades. For details visit helenapschrader.com or follow her author blog: schradershistoricalfiction.blogspot.com for updates on current works in progress, recent reviews, and excerpts. For more on the crusader kingdoms and Balian d'Ibelin visit: defenderofjerusalem.com or follow her blog at: defendingcrusaderkingdoms.blogspot.com.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
The Last Crusader Kingdom based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
The Last Crusader Kingdom opens in March of 1193, with the island principality of Cyprus under the rule of the disgraced former King of Jerusalem, Guy of Lusignan, now suffering the symptoms of his final illness, and whose means of dealing with his Greek Orthodox subjects have already proven brutal, incompetent, and miserably ineffective. Concurrently, Guy's older brother Aimery, by way of the cutthroat politics of post-Third Crusade Outremer, has been forced to relinquish the post of Constable of Jerusalem. With Aimery's means of support taken, and his life possibly in danger, he is easily persuaded by Balian of Ibelin to take his family and flee to Cyprus. From the immediate and chilling reality of the prologue, The Last Crusader Kingdom takes a fast yet comfortable pace, which gives this rich and complex story freedom to develop without losing sight of the excellence of detail and characterizations. The crusader hero Balian and the veteran knight and civil servant Aimery, both aging and abruptly displaced aristocrats, are notably portrayed as men whose noble character, steadfast courage, and sound judgment sharply contrast with the dissolute Guy and the rapacious factions which have made Cyprus a place rent by civil strife and relentless warfare. Faithful to her methods, Dr. Schrader avoids politically-correct modernist clichés with female characters; instead, from the dowager queen Maria Comnena to the lowliest servant, allows them to exist in the context of their times and stand on their own strengths and weaknesses, while never diminishing their presence and the importance of their roles or relegating them to the background. The show-stealer appears in Balian's son and squire to Aimery, John of Ibelin, whose progress from a youth finding his own identity in the shadow of powerful and famous men to maturity, knighthood, and responsibilities testing of a man far older emerges as a principal theme as well as an irresistibly charming and intimate coming-of-age story. In history, Aimery of Lusignan was the founder of a dynasty of Kings of Cyprus who would effectively rule for nearly two hundred years. Though primary records provide at best an abstract of Lusignan's rise to royalty and subsequent successes, in The Last Crusader Kingdom, Schrader, with her distinctive synthesis of accomplished literary polish and meticulous scholarship, has taken these sources and run with them to create a captivating tale which at once takes its place among her outstanding works of historical fiction and provides a soundly-constructed platform inviting academic exploration. The Last Crusader Kingdom stands firmly on its own significant merits, as a worthy conclusion to Schrader's Jerusalem trilogy, or if she chooses to continue with the stories of the Lusignan and Ibelin families, as a remarkable beginning of a new series. Five Stars, highly recommended!
Reviewed by Rabia Tanveer for Readers' Favorite The Last Crusader Kingdom: Dawn of a Dynasty in Twelfth-Century Cyprus by Helena P. Schrader is a historical fiction novel about a young man who is trying not to live in the shadow of his great father and is intent on making his own name. The story follows John d'Ibelin, who is the son of the great Balian. John is taking his life day by day; he is a squire to a wealthy and powerful man. This man has big plans with his money and his power so that he can take over an island and build his own kingdom where he will rule and be the monarch. But achieving a foothold on that island is not as easy as this man thinks. The rebellion has devastated the land and the Greeks are now waiting and ready to take down whoever gets in their way. Nothing can stop them, not an army and never a man who wants the island. This makes John’s job even more difficult. There is not much that he can do, or so he thinks. John has no idea that his future is brighter than he could ever imagine. Join John in his adventure and see what his future holds for him. This is a fast paced novel that will have you so mesmerized that you will have no choice but to go with the flow. I was hooked right from the beginning. I liked John and I enjoyed his humility and confidence. The story was intense and supremely well crafted. The story took twists and turns and had me wanting more. I wish this had been longer because I did not want to say goodbye to John. Simply wonderful book.
Reviewed by Jessica Barbosa for Readers' Favorite The Last Crusader by Helena P. Schrader is set in the period following the third crusade. It starts with John d’Ibelin, eldest son of the brave Balian d’Ibelin, who negotiated the surrender of Jerusalem and the treaty of Ramla, and the beautiful Maria Comnena, the dowager queen of Jerusalem. John is undergoing his apprenticeship as squire to Lord Aimery de Lusignan, who was accused of treason and, as a consequence, was stripped of his title of Constable of Jerusalem. Despite the accusation, John remains loyal to Lord Aimery and follows him as he tries to make a new home for himself in Cyprus, an island under constant rebellion. Balian’s eldest son finds himself in the middle of helping Lord Aimery build a kingdom on ravaged lands, and fighting an uprising that could threaten to destroy the kingdom he and his family helped build. The Last Crusader is a brilliant and exciting work that had me falling hard for it (hook, line, and sinker!) the moment I finished the first chapter. The way it was written made me feel like I was reliving history itself! It was compelling in its wording and well thought out. I could tell from the very first pages of the book how well researched and well planned out it was, from beginning to end. It explained how the kingdom of Cyprus was built on a devastated island and how the Ibelin family played an important role in its resurrection. Helena Schrader shaped history lessons into this breathtaking tale of loyalty and bravery, and filled in the blanks of the past with her own well thought out theories which blended seamlessly into the entire plot. This book has endless potential and I will definitely be keeping an eye out for the author and any more amazing works she has in store!
We are proud to announce that THE LAST CRUSADER KINGDOM: Dawn of a Dynasty in Twelfth-Century Cyprus 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!
Reviewed by Ray Simmons for Readers' Favorite If you like good historical fiction in the old-fashioned swords clashing tradition, there are not many writers in the same league as Helena P. Schrader. I have read several of her books before and she is consistently both a good historian and a great writer. With this book, The Last Crusader Kingdom: Dawn of a Dynasty in Twelfth-Century Cyprus, I am officially a fan. Helena writes history exactly the way I like it. The research is solid. The depiction of everyday life is realistic. She fills in the gaps in the historical record with plausible, exciting, realistic scenes of what might have happened. I think that is the best a writer can do. She gets the history correct, then fills in what isn’t there, like a true artist. I love the characters in The Last Crusader Kingdom. They are portrayed very well. We see good sides and bad ones. Many of these characters are like old friends to me because I first encountered them in Helena P. Schrader’s Jerusalem books. To be honest, this is one reason I follow good writers sometimes, to see the characters at different times in their lives, and to see how the next generation resembles their family. The plot is tight in this book. The plot is history itself. The themes are history, family, and dynasty. The writing is great, especially action sequences. Helena P. Schrader writes military encounters like a combat veteran. That is the highest praise I can give her or any writer when it comes to writing war. Another great book from a great historical writer.