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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Meticulously researched and gripping first novel
An absolutely outstanding book which gripped me from the opening sequence, set at the catastrophic battle of the Horns of Hattin in 1187, and the subsequent fall of Jerusalem triggering the third crusade.

The action focuses on the years from then until the events of 1192, the initial pleas for help and the resulting cat and mouse game around Outremer. Much of...
Published on 23 July 2012 by Alastair Brown

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting.
Good book. Bit slow too start but got there in the end. Very informative and also relevant if you want to understand why things are the way they are.
Published 2 months ago by Tony


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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Meticulously researched and gripping first novel, 23 July 2012
By 
Alastair Brown "amjb" (London, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Outremer (Kindle Edition)
An absolutely outstanding book which gripped me from the opening sequence, set at the catastrophic battle of the Horns of Hattin in 1187, and the subsequent fall of Jerusalem triggering the third crusade.

The action focuses on the years from then until the events of 1192, the initial pleas for help and the resulting cat and mouse game around Outremer. Much of the novel is revealed through the eyes of the protagonist Geoffrey of Moussiac as he assists the bishop of Tours create a chronicle of those events decades later. These conversations, interspersed the private pain of Geoffrey as he relives in his mind those parts of the tale he does not want to share, are enough to keep anyone on the edge of their seat. With the vignette of another new generation of crusaders dreaming of glory as they listen to the recollections of someone else who was there, I felt totally immersed in the period, and first read the book at a frantic speed.

A subsequent reading repaid my effort handsomely, with Allibone's meticulous research not so much adding to, as creating my knowledge on this under explored period. Every bit as riveting as the machinations of the Tudor court for historical fiction aficionados, I cannot recommend this book highly enough. I just hope he writes another!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent historical novel, 31 May 2013
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This review is from: Outremer (Kindle Edition)
Mr Allibone has taken a subject that is really quite topical today in the Arab world where constant armed interventions there by the West are compared to the Crusades. His style of writing is easy to read and he skillfully blends his immaculate research with a good human interest story so, although all the facts are there, it does not feel like studying a history book.

I was lucky to see, in quieter times, many of the places mentioned as Syria is not safe at the moment but this book has given me further insight to many of the castles that I have visited and I highly recommend it, either as a stand-alone introduction to the Crusades or as a piece in the mosaic of Medieval relations between Muslim and Christian which culminated with the Muslims on the borders of France and at the gates of Vienna.

A highly enjoyable read.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A non stop read, 28 Mar 2013
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This book is very good indeed and it covers a period of history that I knew some of but this has expanded my knowledge, the writing is excellent and will keep you engaged from beginning to end. Well worth thetime to read and amsorb the atmosphere it creates.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Is this the best Crusader book? Possibly, yes., 12 Aug 2013
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S. Finlay "sgscf" (UK) - See all my reviews
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Simply superb, on the heels of Bernard Cornwell and just ahead of C.C. Humphreys (sorry CC but it's really good). The author clearly knows and loves his subject. The background history, characters and story are driven along with astonishing pace and yet the level of detail in terms of battle tactics, weapons, armour and customs never fails to keep up. There is as fair and balanced a view of the religious conflict as you can expect in a historic novel. There is no right side, no heroes and the characters are never allowed to escape into modern viewpoints to justify their actions and beliefs. The brutality of the battles is well described, although having never hit anyone over the head with a mace, I may not be qualified to comment; at least it never seemed to degenerate into war porn. The only problem with the book is that it may take the author quite a while to write another book with this level of intensity. Hopefully not too long. I rarely describe a book as a page turner, mainly because I've got a Kindle Fire but there were multiple greasy swipe marks, enough said.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good story but Americanised., 19 Mar 2014
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A well told story but the use of " guys" and " hey mister" take away from its basis in historical fact.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Nearly worth Five Stars, 16 Mar 2014
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I found this mostly to be a well paced, interesting read with a real air of authenticity about it as it is very well researched. It is however in this detailed research of the historical period that I found the book's only flaw. The author tends, from time to time, to go off on historical discourses, which though very probably acurate do little to advance the story. It's not that I dislike history, but if I want a history of the crusades I'll read one (preferably Runciman)

I confess I skipped almost all of Chapter 10 where two clerics debate the use of force in advancing Christian interests in the Holy Land. Yes, I'm sure not all contemporary clerics thought that armed crusades were the right way to go about things and that such debates may well have taken place, but to deal with it in such detail is something better placed in a straight history than in an historical novel. Similarly, a whole chapter devoted to the character of Henry II and his relationship with Philip of France ends up with Henry dropping dead before we can move on to Richard and get on with the Third Crusade. This is another chapter I ended up skipping through and I nearly gave up on the book at this point. However I didn't and I'm glad. I look forward to more from this author as he clearly has talent in telling a good story combined with good history. Get the balance right and keep the plot moving, and this could be another Bernard Cornwell.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant, 30 May 2013
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My favourite period in history brought to life by some fantastic characters. fantastically well written I would certainly read anything else by Allibone
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An exquisitely researched but nicely readable lightly fictionalised account of the third crusade, 26 April 2013
By 
AK (London) - See all my reviews
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The author has managed an excellent job of creating a very readable account of the events leading up to the third crusade and the crusade itself (the book broadly covering the period from ~1187 - 1193). While the book is a work of fiction, introducing a historically non-existent character of Geoffrey de Moissac to narrate the story, one has to say that the author spend an inordinate amount of care and attention to make it historically accurate.

This means you get an excellent overview of the third crusade (in a learning while reading fiction type of way) without the hard work of looking through the original sources (anyone who read Anna Comnena's The Alexiad of Anna Comnena (Classics) will know how hard going this can get) or the often dry reporting of history books.

So for fans of historical fiction and readers interested in the region or the topic of the crusades more generally (and potentially of Richard Lionheart more specifically) this is an excellent read - one I can definitely recommend. Hobby historians may feel that the latter parts of the book contain more of the human interest story than they'd like but overall I find the author chose a good mix.

If while waiting for a follow up from the author, you're interested in an (again slightly fictionalized) account of King Richard's journey home from the Holy Lands, The Lion in Chains: A Foreworld SideQuest (The Foreworld Saga) may be a good bet, too.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good link between history & fiction, 28 Mar 2013
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It's a good historical fiction novel linking an I interesting fictional character into a major historical period which involved major figures in history. The main fictional character Geoffrey had depth and a history with a family and links to other key figures in history of Outremer. If you enjoy historical fiction especially around the Crusades this is an enjoyable read
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4.0 out of 5 stars Good read, 24 Jun 2014
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Quite liked this book, it was a bit of a history lesson for me. I will look out for the author in future!
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