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.
About the Author
Helena P. Schrader earned a PhD in History from University of Hamburg with a ground-breaking biography of the mastermind behind the coup attempt against Hitler on July 20, 1944, General Friedrich Olbricht. She earned her BA in History from the University of Michigan and an MA in Diplomacy and International Commerce at the Patterson School, University of Kentucky. Helena has published numerous works of non-fiction and fiction. Her non-fiction books are focused on the German Resistance to Hitler, Women in Aviation in WWII and the Berlin Airlift. As a novelist, she has focused on historical and biographical fiction set in Ancient Sparta, the Middle Ages and World War Two (WWII).
Visit her website: http://www.helenapschrader.com for descriptions and reviews of her publications, or follow her blog: http://schradershistoricalfiction.blogspot.com for updates on current works in progress or recent reviews and publications. For more on the Middle Ages visit: http://www.talesofchivalry.com or her blog on the Crusader Kingdoms at: http://defendingcrusaderkingdoms.blogspot.com Helena is a career Foreign Service Officer currently serving in Africa.