Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Birth of the Kingdom-Jan Guillow

Birth of the Kingdom
Jan Guillow
Harper, Jun 28 2011, $25.99
ISBN: 9780061688638

Two decades ago Arn was exiled from his beloved Western Gotaland (see the Road to Jerusalem). For the twenty years he was away, Arn became a proud fierce Knight Templar who fought against his friend Saladin in a losing war (see The Templar Knight).

In 1192 with a plan to rebuild his Folkung Clan, affluent Arn returns home accompanied by Holy Land Christian and Muslim knights, doctors and artisans. He also hopes to find his lost love Cecilia and their daughter Alde. However, he finds his country devastated by clan combat. When he locates his Cecelia at a monastery, Arn wants to marry her, but this further divides his clan who already has doubts with the retinue he brought home with him.

The final chapter of the Crusades trilogy reads more like a historical tale that discerningly showcases life in incredible depth mostly in late twelfth century Sweden, but also deftly compares local customs to that of those in Arn’s Holy Land retinue. The action is muted as the detailed history rules the story line. Not for everyone even some fans who read the first two books in the epic; readers who prefer a profound sense of time and place will relish the slow paced Birth of the Kingdom.

Harriet Klausner

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