A FORBIDDEN RELATIONSHIP TURNS A YOUNG PLOUGHMAN INTO A WARRIOR ON AN ILL-FATED CRUSADE TO JERUSALEM.
In the year 1096, the Kingdom of France is set ablaze by righteous fire. Men, women, brigand, and knight - with a promise of forgiveness of sins - answer the pope’s call to retake Jerusalem. In a village along the Oise River, Anseau of Valois, a young ploughman, has defied his Church, enraged his lord, and disappointed his father. His forbidden relationship with Channah, a Jew, forces him into the service of a bishop.
The bishop trains Anseau to chronicle a ragtag pilgrim army marching to reclaim Jerusalem. Completing this offers him absolution and a way back to Channah. However, after distinguishing himself in battle, Anseau proves himself a leader and becomes ensnared in the politics and subterfuge of a wayward campaign. Should Anseau survive, he must fight friend and foe, ally with the most unlikely of companions, and lead a resistance against the formidable Sultan of Rûm.
Meanwhile, Channah and her family come under attack by a different band of crusading pilgrims, and though Anseau doesn't know it, his fate and the fate of his army rests with Channah's ability to persevere and win the graces of an emperor
“Archers to the front!” Godfrey ordered when he had returned from the short deliberation.
Over a thousand archers stepped through the ranks of cavalry and foot-soldiers to take their position within striking range of the town’s walls. Each man carried twenty arrows in hand and stuck them into the ground at their side. Boy runners were ready to retrieve more arrows from the arrow bags once the archers had spent their twenty.
“What in God’s name is Peter doing?” Anseau asked Sir Reinold.
“It appears we are preparing for war. The Lord must favor you, young sir.” Sir Reinold winked and slapped Anseau on the back.
“But our quarrel is with Saracens, not Christians.”
“Peter believes that we are God’s mighty hand of vengeance. We avenge what is unjust wherever we find it. The Hungarians’ disgrace cannot go unpunished.”
“This pleases you?”
“I would not have taken the cross if I did not think I was doing the will of God. I think the question is if it pleases you, young sir.”
Anseau thought about the question as he witnessed the beginnings of his first siege. He would have to relate in his chronicles that Peter’s first battle was against Christians and not Saracens. To Anseau, that was a disgrace. There must be ulterior reasons Peter had for attacking. He took out the silver cross around his neck and kissed it, wondering how many times his father had done something similar.
“1066 was a catalyst for Saxon and Norman alike: that fateful day in October upon that bloody battlefield affected the lives of many people in many ways, for many years. The People’s Crusade accompanies a cast of richly-woven, believable characters as they confront the moral dilemmas of conquest, and the conflict of religious faith. A thoughtfully written, intriguing novel.”—Helen Hollick: author of Harold the King (UK) / I Am the Chosen King (US)
“The People's Crusade is a fresh, interesting novel featuring a strong storyline and original characters that feel and act like real people.”—Publishers Weekly Booklife Prize
“Plenty of books have been written about the Crusades era… Few succeed in capturing the atmosphere and purpose of the times like The People's Crusade.”—D. Donovan, Senior Reviewer, Midwest Book Review