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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A thoroughly enjoyable read! - (review copy)
This is very much a dialogue driven plot in keeping with good script writing, which in turn renders it a fast-paced read. As with all mediaeval stories of Crusaders venturing to the Holy Land, "Outcasts" ranks well alongside all the novels and movies on the theme of Saladin versus Whomever and made it to movie status or started out at movies. Off-the-cuff "El Cid" leaps...
Published 16 months ago by Francine Howarth

versus
2.0 out of 5 stars Outcasts
Poorly researched book. No space given to the siege of Jerusalem or the battle of Hattin. If this is the first of a Trilogy it will have to proceed without me.
Published 4 months ago by Clive


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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A thoroughly enjoyable read! - (review copy), 27 Sept. 2013
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This review is from: Outcasts (Crusades Book 1) (Kindle Edition)
This is very much a dialogue driven plot in keeping with good script writing, which in turn renders it a fast-paced read. As with all mediaeval stories of Crusaders venturing to the Holy Land, "Outcasts" ranks well alongside all the novels and movies on the theme of Saladin versus Whomever and made it to movie status or started out at movies. Off-the-cuff "El Cid" leaps to mind, followed by "Arne Knight Templar" and "Kingdom of Heaven". Interestingly the author has set out to follow-on from "Kingdom of Heaven" post surrender of Jerusalem to Saladin. It's quite remarkable that any of the knights were allowed to leave, but that's a story in itself and well-handled within this novel. Defining the difference between the Templar Knights and the Knights of St John is never that easy to explain, except to say the latter were hospitaler knights and those of the Grand Order of Knights had to be of aristocratic bloodlines.

This story is about the ordinary folks, men, women and children who find themselves caught up in the mediaeval madness of Islam Versus Christianity. Whether as a would-be knight or merely a pilgrim to the holy sites of Jerusalem, the aftermath of the city under siege and the battles to save or destroy it has taken great toll on the people. Herded away like cattle slavery awaits for those who survive the long treks ahead. The journeys in themselves prove treacherous for differing reasons. Men are separated from their loved ones and women left vulnerable to the overseers, hence hearts and souls are torn asunder as each battle to survive in their own way. Casting aside the rights and wrongs of religion and the evil forces afoot to shroud (dominate) the other by force in the story of "Outcasts", even now, in the 21st century there are elements who will not accept less than specific lines of demarcation re religious borders and expansion of cultures: a very black and white outlook indeed on whose religion should rule the world. Thus "Outcasts" is a stark reminder as to evil prominence and wicked deeds enacted in the name of religion.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Easy to read yet full of detail, 12 Jan. 2013
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This review is from: Outcasts (Crusades Book 1) (Kindle Edition)
I really enjoy Martin's works, they are easy to read yet full of the detail needed to make the scenarios and regions come to life, it is easy to imagine that you are there. Outcasts, puts a slightly different slant on the era of the Crusades, and the reader has the opportunity to see the conflict from both sides. As usual I am left, impatiently waiting for the next episode, the true sign of a great storyteller.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Human Story of the Crusades, 25 Jun. 2013
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Ann Marie (Swansea, Wales) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Outcasts (Crusades Book 1) (Kindle Edition)
Have you seen the film Kingdom of Heaven? Starring Orlando Bloom, it tells of how ordinary men were knighted by the knight Balian, in an attempt to save Jerusalem from Saladin. This book details what happened to Balian's knights after Jerusalem fell. We see the attitude of the outside world to these low-born men, we see the lives of the people of Jerusalem who escaped and those who were sold into slavery. The details are fascinating, and give a real insight into the lives of ordinary people who followed their lords to the crusades or went to Jerusalem on pilgrimage. It tells of the people of all races who lived together in harmony for many years before the Crusaders stirred up trouble.

The human interest is well written, and we are drawn in to the plight of various people, and follow their adventures. I will certainly look out for the next book! Highly recommended.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent read, 12 Aug. 2014
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This review is from: Outcasts (Crusades Book 1) (Kindle Edition)
Loved this book as much as the King Edgar series. The storyline is so intense and gave me a real insight as to this period of history. Saladin has a fearsome reputation as a leader of the Saracens bit I was unaware of his unpopularity within the Muslim world as a whole. Also it seems that during this time and in this part of the world each different faction whether religious or regal, there was at least understanding and some tolerence as well as treachery and betrayal. I am normally an avid reader of Roman historical novels but this author has ignighted a spark in me to continue reading about the crusades and the conflict between muslim and christian worlds. This book in particular seems to suggest that in real terms they were not really as different as I had always suspected. When or are the sequelsavailble???
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5.0 out of 5 stars The Holy War, 15 Dec. 2014
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This review is from: Outcasts (Crusades Book 1) (Kindle Edition)
If, like me, you enjoyed Ridley Scott’s Kingdom of Heaven then you will be aware of Balian leading the doomed defence of Jerusalem. In Martin Lake’s Outcasts we see Balian as not the young Orlando Bloom but as the historically accurate veteran crusader knight, respected by Muslim and Christian alike. I knew that I would enjoy this book; however, I ended up enjoying it in a totally different way than which I envisaged.
The author skilfully sculpts us an image of Jerusalem, as we see it through the eyes of the young pilgrims: a holy city full of hope and faith on one hand but an assault on the senses on the other. The author has done a good deal of research and we are lost in the heady sights, sounds and smells of this great city but soon this image is smashed and in ruins as the whole region is sent into chaos as war stokes the fires of fanaticism. The book is mainly dialogue driven, rather than describing sweeping dioramas of bloody battles between Crusaders and Saracens, but this enables us to get into the central characters’ heads, to fully empathise with them.
Reading Outcasts I was swept along in the story, eagerly turning the pages. It soon becomes clear that the title is very well chosen: the warriors knighted by Balian are despised by Christian aristocratic knights, their blood and sweat lost in the defence of Jerusalem counting for nothing. The characters we follow are cast adrift from family, from city, denied nationality and even their faith brought into question. They are stranded in a land between worlds, at the crossroads of trade routes and a meeting of peoples and religions. While religious zealots both from the East and West see the world in terms of black and white, those caught between learn to tolerate each other’s differences; the borders, both political and cultural, become more fluid.
The reader, like the characters, is asked to question their cultural concepts of right and wrong; no religion or culture is superior to the other. The central characters experience abuse and resentment from those they would expect help from and yet receive aid and honour from those they would count as enemies. The comparison with modern events, with the stark polarisation offered by the mad religiosity of ISIS, can clearly be seen. Here is a land that has been central to the evolution of Eurasian civilisations and yet has been fought over for millennia, with barbaric conquest dressed as faith. With such a long history of empires rising and falling who can really claim this land as theirs and theirs alone?
The central characters in Outcasts meanwhile, forced by events to take up the sword, look upon each faith, demanding their souls and obedience, with suspicion. It is their own lives, and those that they love, here and now, that concerns them. Christian Lord or Muslim Sultan: each would use them for their own quest for power; our characters will instead seek their own destinies. How these destinies unfold will be revealed in the sequel, which I eagerly await.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Outcasts - engaging fast paced story, 21 Jan. 2015
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This review is from: Outcasts (Crusades Book 1) (Kindle Edition)
Thoroughly enjoyed the fast paced story, sprinkled onto real historical events. You get drawn in by the characters and can't help but want to see what happens next to each and every one of them as their lives get turned on end by the ebb and flow of the battles and powerful personalities effecting their every move.
Martin has also resisted describing every article of clothing down to their socks, that each character is wearing, just to fill pages, as most writers in this genre tend to do.
Really looking forward to the next instalment
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars brilliant!!, 17 May 2014
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This review is from: Outcasts (Crusades Book 1) (Kindle Edition)
I can't say enough how much I enjoyed this book couldn't was it to pick it up to start reading.Hope number three is on the way ?
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Waiting for more, 29 Aug. 2014
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This review is from: Outcasts (Crusades Book 1) (Kindle Edition)
Very good read, interesting to see life from the less fortunate than the aristocracy. Hope to read more of this story.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars thoroughly enjoyed the characters in this book and didnt want it ..., 26 Aug. 2014
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This author is new to me ,thoroughly enjoyed the characters in this book and didnt want it to end . bring on 2 please
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4.0 out of 5 stars Where next?, 7 Jan. 2015
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This review is from: Outcasts (Crusades Book 1) (Kindle Edition)
This is a well paced adventure with believable characters set in well thought out situations . You can feel that the adventure has a fair few miles left in it to last at least to a trilogy. How long do we have to wait??
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