Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Wishlist Reads: March 2016

Like many readers, my TBR grows faster than it shrinks. I find a subject that interests me and titles start piling up one right after the other. With so many bookmarked, I thought it'd be fun to sort through and feature five titles a month here at Flashlight Commentary. 

My love affair with historic fiction began with Elizabeth Chadwick's The Champion. I began searching for stories of knights and kings which naturally led to an interest in fiction set against the Crusades. I've never gotten over the period which why I've dedicated my March 2016 Wishlist to Crusade fiction. 

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For power. For passion. For glory. The epic story of the Knights Templar. Born in 1150 to a noble Swedish family and coming of age at a monastery under the tutelage of a Cistercian monk and a former Knight Templar, young Arn Magnusson is sent to fulfill his destiny beyond the cloister walls. But the world awaiting him is a place at odds with his monastic ways. And when the murder of a king engulfs Western Götaland into a whirlwind of intrigue and ruthless power plays, headstrong and naive Arn is forced to leave the woman he loves behind and take up arms to battle infidels in the Holy Land. The first book in the international bestselling Crusades Trilogy, this thrilling epic of betrayal, faith, blood, and love sets "a Shakespearian quest for power" (Corriere della Sera, Italy) against the backdrop of the Holy Wars, witnessed through a vibrant, unorthodox lens.




War, political intrigue and passion… heroes… friends and lovers… and the seeds for a new Robin Hood legend await you... Two young knights’ journey to war at Richard the Lionheart’s side sweeps them from England to the Holy Land in this historical adventure set against the backdrop of the Third Crusade. Henry de Grey leaves Southampton in high spirits, strong in his faith and passionate about the mission to take Jerusalem back from Saladin’s army. Stephan l’Aigle’s prowess on the battlefield is well known, as are his exploits in the arms of other men. He prizes duty, honour and loyalty to his king above all else. But God and the Church? Stephan has little use for either. Henry’s convictions are challenged by loss and the harsh realities of bloody battles, unforgiving marches, and the politics of the day. Man against man. Man against the elements. Man against his own heart. Survival will depend on more than a strong sword arm.




Balian, the landless son of a local baron, goes to Jerusalem to seek his fortune. Instead, he finds himself trapped into serving the young prince suffering from leprosy, an apparent sentence to obscurity and death. But the unexpected death of King Amalric makes the leper boy King Baldwin IV of Jerusalem, and Balian's prospects begin to improve. The Byzantine princess Maria Comnena is just thirteen years old when she arrives in the Kingdom of Jerusalem at her great uncle's orders to cement the alliance between the two Christian kingdoms in the East. The child wife of a man almost three times her own age, she is despite her excellent education and intelligence little more than a pretty doll in the eyes of her husband. When she fails to produce a male heir for the desperate king, her marriage becomes a gilded prison. Until suddenly the king is dead and Maria finds herself a wealthy widow at just twenty years of age. Meanwhile, the charismatic Kurdish leader Saladin has united the forces of Islam and vowed to drive the Christians into the sea. While King Baldwin IV-and Balian-struggle to save the Holy Land for Christendom by whatever means they can, the internal rivalries of Templars and Hospitallers, the advocates of offense and defense, and the bitter rivalries of barons threaten to tear the kingdom apart.





Inspired by the vision of the Young Lady Sapphira, Rosalind of Ipsworth joins a group of men, women, and children as a defender of the cross, seeking to free captives from prisons near Tripoli. She gladly gives herself to the cause, as she's haunted by a tragic mistake and no longer deserves such joys as marriage and family might bring. Sir Randel Penigree was reared to serve in the church, but dreams of protecting the innocent as a knight. Joining a crusade to escape humiliation at home, he finds himself drawn to Rosalind as they partner to train and protect a group of young adolescents. When they face political machinations, danger, and an unknown enemy bent on their destruction, they are forced to reconsider their priorities and the very nature of the God they serve.





Jerusalem sits at the crossroads of three continents and has been continuously invaded for millennia. Yet, in the middle of one of the region's most violent eras, the Crusades, an amazing multicultural world was forming. Templar knights, Muslim peasants, Turkish caliphs, Jewish merchants, and the native Christians, along with the children of the first crusaders, blended cultures while struggling to survive in a land constantly at war. Defending the City of God explores this fascinating and forgotten world, and how a group of sisters, daughters of the King of Jerusalem, whose supporters included Grand Masters of the Templars and Armenian clerics, held together the fragile treaties, understandings, and marriages that allowed for relative peace among the many different factions. As the crusaders fought to maintain their conquests, these relationships quickly unraveled, and the religious and cultural diversity was lost as hardline factions took over. Weaving together the political intrigues and dynastic battles that transformed the Near East with an evocative portrait of medieval Jerusalem, this is an astonishing look at a forgotten side of the first Crusades.


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INTERESTED IN MORE WISHLISTS?
CHECK OUT WHAT MY FRIENDS HAVE BOOKMARKED:

Stephanie at Layered Pages
Magdalena at It's a Mad Mad World
Heather at The Maiden's Court
Colleen at A Literary Vacation
Holly at 2 Kids and Tired



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