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, but retained his respect. Rather than dally with a princess, he married a dowager queen and founded a dynasty. He was a diplomat and a warrior both: Balian d'Ibelin.
In this, the third book of the Jerusalem Trilogy, Balian has survived the devastating Frankish defeat at the Battle of Hattin, and walked away a free man after the surrender of Jerusalem, but he is baron of nothing in a kingdom that longer exists. Haunted by the tens of thousands of Christians now in Saracen slavery, he is determined to regain what has been lost. The arrival of a vast crusading army led by the already legendary Richard the Lionheart offers hope -- but also conflict as natives and crusaders clash and French and English quarrel.
"...this is one of the best historical series ever written. ... A very detailed drama full of historical truths intertwined with a fantastically written tale ... The zest this author has for her subject is dramatic, intense and something that will never be forgotten!"
"... a captivating work of historical fiction...that offers insight into the religious politics of the Middle Ages. ... Even the most minor character is fully described and the attention to the smallest details is evident in every aspect of the novel. ... Passionate prose brings the fascinating backdrop of the Middle Ages to life, and interest holds throughout."
"Schrader, a career diplomat with a PhD in history, delivers a meticulous historical drama full of telling details and dialogue that's contemporary-feeling without compromising its historical authenticity.... [T]he story presents both Christian and Muslim points-of-view, so there is no facile stereotyping of villains....[R]eaders are sure to find the author's enthusiasm for Crusade-era history infectious."
"'Envoy' stands alone as captivating and entertaining, as well as scholarly and far-reaching in scope and intent. As a complete work, the 'Jerusalem' trilogy represents an outstanding achievement; a literary oeuvre constructed in keeping with the highest academic principles for research and verifiable accuracy."
Non-Fiction sources about the crusades and crusader states recommended by Helena P. Schrader