Tuesday, April 6, 2010

The Templar Knight-Jan Guillou

The Templar Knight
Jan Guillou
Harper, May 2010, $25.99
ISBN: 9780061688577

In Anno Domini 1167, teenage Swedish knight Arn Magnusson was forced into joining the Knights Templar as they marched on The Road to Jerusalem; he left behind his beloved betrothed Cecilia unaware of her pregnancy and eventual exile to a convent on Gotaland. Now a decade later in the hot summer of what the Faithful call 575 after Hijra, Arn remains with the Knights Templar in the Holy Land but has moved up the ranks to become master of the fortress at Gaza.

Over the next few years he survives the battles with the Saracens and respects their shrewd strategic Sultan Saladin. Meanwhile, Cecilia misses her beloved Arn and their son who is raised by others as she remains incarcerated at a convent run by an abbess who loathes her for being a member of a rival clan. Following the bloody battle of Hattin in AD 1187, Arn’s twenty year commitment finally is over and he is free to go home, but fears what he will find there as he prays Cecilia is still his.

The second tale of the Crusades Trilogy is an excellent historical epic that grips the audience from the onset and maintains that hold as a decade swings by. Fast-paced and filled with plenty of action, readers will feel they are part of Arn’s command as Jan Guillou brings the twelfth century crusades to life.

Harriet Klausner

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