Crossed: A Tale of the Fourth Crusade
Harper, Feb 2008, $15.95
The nomadic musician left Britain to tour the continent, but when he reaches Venice he decides to join the Fourth Crusade. There he meets resolute believer Germanic knight Gregor of Mainz, the intrepid warrior’s father-in-law the leader of the crusade Marquis Boniface of Montferrat, and in disguise as an Arab Princess Jewish healer Jamila of Alexandria, whom the wanderer rescues.
However, a lack of capital slows down the crusaders from achieving their goal to retake Jerusalem. To keep their quest alive, they first sack the Christian city of Zara and surround Constantinople. As the musician, Jamila and Gregor try to perform good deeds; the crusaders have other desires enflamed by Boniface, who plans to use his expendable force to gain increased power and wealth.
CROSSED is entertaining historical thriller that looks deep at the way leaders manipulate their supporters for avaricious reasons. The musician without a name and Jamila are developed enough to bring the thirteenth century to life. On the other hand Boniface seems so one dimensional and a cruel nasty sort, one must wonder how he lined up support. Gregor steals the show as he changes from idealistic zealot to disillusioned realist.