Item description for Crusader King: A Novel of Baldwin IV and the Crusades by Susan Peek...
A new historical novel about the unusual life of King Baldwin IV of Jerusalem, the leper crusader king who--despite ascending to the throne at only 13, his early death at 24 and his debilitating disease--performed great and heroic deeds in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds.
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Studio: TAN Books and Publishers
Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 8.3" Width: 5.56" Height: 0.6" Weight: 0.55 lbs.
Release Date Oct 1, 2004
Publisher Tan Books & Publishers
ISBN 0895557606 ISBN13 9780895557605
Reviews - What do customers think about Crusader King: Novel of Baldwin IV & the Crusades?
it's a novel! May 30, 2007
It is NoT a history book, it is a novel. So, of course, the author takes a few liberties which may displease historians; but all in all, it's a pretty good story. I recommend it to boys 10 years old and over.
A moving tale well told Mar 12, 2007
Susan Peek's rendition of the story of the leper king of Jerusalem, Baldwin IV, is at the same time a tragic and uplifting tale. Young Baldwin was stricken with leprosy as a boy and ascended the throne of the Crusader Kingdom of Jerusalem at age 13. Despite scheming nobles--even among his own family--angling for his crown and the omnipresent threat of Saladin and his Islamic hordes, the sickly Baldwin managed to hold his throne and safeguard his kingdom for nearly 11 years.
While Peek takes certain liberties with the history (this is historical fiction, after all), the story is solid and one feels genuine empathy for Baldwin as he struggles to do what he feels God has called him to do. Though his faithless nobles undercut him at every turn, Baldwin is supported by several very loyal Templars, one of whom, Theo, is his boyhood friend. Theo's loyalty and self-sacrificing excellence is really the heart of the book. While everyone else around Baldwin grasps at power, Theo refuses it at every turn, deciding instead to stick by his dying friend, no matter what the cost. Baldwin himself is presented as a devout, strong, and decidedly Catholic hero, suffering his dreadful crosses with courage and trust in God. As a Catholic myself, I found this to be a particular strength of the book
Crusader King is an easy and quick read. The prose is light, even when dealing with difficult subjects--like Baldwin's progressing disfigurement. Peek does use some modern colloquialisms, but mainly in an attempt to portray the informal banter between friends, or the cutting sarcasm among estranged family members. As such, it was wholly appropriate. I found this book to be an engrossing read and it made me seek out the historical accounts to get the actual story. If this was Ms. Peek's intention, she succeeded brilliantly. If you enjoy this type of book--as I do--I would also recommend Belisarius: The First Shall Be Last.
Plenty of moral uplift, not much history Aug 19, 2005
I don't necessarily expect "adventure, action, and romance" from a historical novel but I do expect it not to falsify historical facts. This book does.
For example, it states that at Baldwin's coronation his leprosy was still a secret; in fact it had already been common knowledge for years. Baldwin is described as fighting his great victory at Montgisard alone with no experienced advisers, at the head of only 300 men; in fact he had 500 knights, several thousand infantry and at least three senior barons. At another battle the author describes all Baldwin's nobles running away and scuttling back to Jerusalem assuming that Baldwin has been killed without bothering to check or look for his body, then wrangling over the succession until Baldwin limps in alive, found by his fictional best friend. Nothing like this ever happened at any of Baldwin's battles. Nor is it even a plausible invention - feudal kings were important, you didn't simply lose your king and not go looking for him.
The book does serious injustice to Raymond of Tripoli, portrayed as a cowardly greedy traitor plotting with Saladin to destroy the Crusader Kingdom. In her Afterword the author says: "whether or not he had at one time been a traitor, as history strongly suggests, is known only to God." Not true; no serious historian believes that Raymond wanted the kingdom destroyed, if only because his own County of Tripoli would certainly have been the next to go!
In addition to the bad history, Baldwin and his best friend talk and behave like exceptionally clean-living American teenagers ("Hey, Dwin! I thought I was your friend!") ; the author has failed dismally to give them any convincingly mediaeval mind-set or dialogue.
The life of Baldwin IV is certainly a heroic and uplifting story, but it is not told well or truthfully in this book.
A great king from the past as a model for our days Jul 26, 2005
A wonderful novel! But to tell the truth - if you expect a historical novel with its typical elements as adventure, action, romance you will be disappointed. When you read the short biography of the author of this novel - Susan Peek - you'll get to know that Mrs.Peek is a devout Catholic --- a fact that shows clearly in the way she depicts the crusades and especially the person to which this book is dedicated - King Baldwin IV.
So if you like to read the life of a saint then you will LOVE this book and you'll be touched deeply by it as I was. A person like King Baldwin IV who lived hundreds of years ago and who endured his terrible illness (leprosy) with infinite patience and for the love of God can serve as a model for every ill or suffering person of our days - and as he died with only 24 years after a life and reign dedicated to peace and tolerance he is also a wonderful model especially to young people.