Nicole Galland, Author
Nicole Galland, Author . Harper $14.95 (642p) ISBN 978-0-06-084180-5
Reviewed on: 12/24/2007
Release date: 02/01/2008

The unnamed hero of this epic historical adventure, an itinerant musician from Britain, joins the Fourth Crusade in Venice where his fate becomes inextricably linked with those of Gregor of Mainz, a steadfast German knight; Gregor’s father-in-law, marquis Boniface of Montferrat, leader of the Crusade; and Jamila of Alexandria, an Arab princess the musician rescues, unaware that she is really a “Jewess” who is trained in the healing arts. Unable to finance the massive undertaking, the Crusaders are continually diverted from their goal—the liberation of Jerusalem. As mercenaries, they first sack the Christian city of Zara and lay siege to Constantinople. The musician, Jamila and the increasingly disillusioned Gregor try to do good, but find themselves thwarted by the villainous Boniface and the tragic inevitability of 13th-century realpolitik. Despite characters that fail to engage fully and dialogue that fails to sell the period, the novel still succeeds in being a true guilty pleasure, a rousing shout-out to those past masters of bestselling historical fiction, Frank Yerby, Samuel Shellabarger and Lawrence Schoonover. (Feb.)