The Crusader: A Novel

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9780385502818: The Crusader: A Novel

A rousing historical novel of extraordinarily broad appeal, about a Crusader with a heavy heart.

The Year of Our Lord, 1275, Santes Creus monastery, Spain. Brother Lucas, a venal and moderately trustworthy monk, is put in charge of an exorcism. His former fellow acolyte, the brooding and magnetic aristocrat Francisco de Montcada, has returned from the Crusades possessed by demons. If Brother Lucas can drive out the demons, his monastery will be enriched by the Montcada patriarch and he himself will be made a bishop.

Gradually Francisco comes out of his possession, and begins to spin the tale of his crusade: how he set out to free the soul of his dead brother, lost at sea before he could reach the Holy Land; his fierce friendship with his cousin Andres, a mighty warrior with an honest heart; his intense love for Andres’s feisty sister, Isabel; the high ideals of Ramon, his battle-hardened commander; and the amoral cruelty of the perfidious Don Fernando, a noble who delights in executing Muslim women and children. The crusaders win a great battle at Toron, taking it back from the Infidel, but at the gigantic fortress Krak des Chevaliers, the key to the Christian position in the Holy Land, the Saracens have laid siege. In the fierce battle to defend the fortress, Francisco will lose everything–including, unless the dodgy Bruther Lucas succeeds, his immortal soul.

The Crusader is a wonderfully crafted novel of knights, torture, romance, religious fervor, vows, quests, sieges, and villainy, told by an author who knows how to make history come to shimmering life.

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From the Back Cover:

“An enlightening, frighteningly believable read as we learn of churchmen who are anything but holy, of good Christian knights who are more barbaric and cruel than the much-maligned infidels.” — Telegram (St. John’s)
From the Hardcover edition.

About the Author:

MICHAEL ALEXANDER EISNER is a graduate of Yale University and Yale Law School. After college he spent a year working in refugee camps in Cambodia, and was in Chile during the transition from Pinochet’s rule to democracy. An expert in international law, he worked on the Middle East peace process as a lawyer for the State Department. During a trip to Syria, he visited the massive medieval fortress Krak des Chevaliers, whose fall to Islam in 1271 signaled the end of the two-hundred-year existence of the crusader states. Inspired, he began writing this novel immediately. It is his first work of fiction. Eisner lives in New York City.

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