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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars From Italy to Jerusalem, 14 Aug 2013
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This review is from: Prince of Legend: 3 (Crusades) (Kindle Edition)
I would recommend this series of books to anyone with an interest in history, action and the interaction of a strong character list. Historical fiction is only as good as the detail and list of events that go to make up the story, I was hooked after the first chapter of the first book.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Detailed and exciting, 22 July 2014
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Mr. C. J. Nicholls (Bristol, England) - See all my reviews
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I've enjoyed all six of his books about the Norman empire in Italy, including the last two which took Bohemund and Tancred on Crusade. This is not a well-known or widely-covered area in historical fiction; my interest was aroused by recent TV documentaries, which were a revelation. There is lots of accurate historical detail, but that does not prevent the story holding the reader's interest throughout.
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4.0 out of 5 stars good read.. and lots of books to delve into to build the dynesty..., 10 Jun 2014
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This review is from: Prince of Legend: 3 (Crusades) (Kindle Edition)
Good read, not quite as good Conn igledon or Bernard Cornwell, mainly because lack Ludlow spends a great deal of time exploring the background to battles and the environment in which the battles are fought. In fact one bankers for detailed scenes of battle and individual fights of key individuals..
Easy read though and as part of the De Haughtville story its ok..
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5.0 out of 5 stars A great read., 29 Jan 2014
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david murphy (Ayrshire, Scotland.) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Prince of Legend: 3 (Crusades) (Kindle Edition)
Another fantastic addition in the crusade series, I keenly await another hopefully book in this run and look forward to see if tancred
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4.0 out of 5 stars Consistently good, 23 Jun 2013
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JPS - See all my reviews
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Received on 18 June 2013 from Amazon.co.uk

Prince of Legend, the third volume of the trilogy on Bohemond, has a lot in common with the two previous volumes ("Son of Blood" and "Soldier of Crusade"). The first volume is about Bohemond of Tarento's early years. The second is mostly about the early stages of the First Crusade, up to the fall off Antioch. This one tells the rest of the story, with particular emphasis on the "miraculous" Crusader victory in front of the Gates of Antioch and under the overall command of the Norman warlord, and up to the battle of Ascalon, which ensured that Jerusalem, freshly conquered, would remain in the hands of the Franks.

The story-telling is as good as usual. It alternates rather superb descriptions of battles (the battle of the Gates of Antioch and the last assault on the walls of Jerusalem, in particular), with confrontations among Crusader leaders, showing the rivalries and tensions that riddled the First Crusade. It also depicts rather well the terrible ordeal that they went through, with hunger, diseases and exhaustion taking a heavier toll than the actual fighting against Seljuk Turks and Fatimids. The portray of the complex relations that the Crusader leaders had with the Byzantine Emperor, and the mutual mistrust that grew overtime between them, is another strong point. This was especially when the later, despite his promises, did not march to their help, allowing Bohemond to use this as an excuse to lay claim to Antioch for himself and insist upon the Emperor's "betrayal".

Compared to the previous volumes, the author seems to have "stuck" much closer to the sources and taken fewer "liberties". The story is, of course, rather in favour of Bohemond who seems, at times, to be "head and shoulders" above all of the other commanders. However, this is not really surprising (regardless of whether it was the case or not) since this story is clearly told from an Italo-Norman point of view. So, unsurprisingly, you might get the impression that the author is a bit partial towards Bohemond although, to be fair, he does show him as being driven by his own personal interests rather than his Crusader vows, to the extent that he remained in Antioch and did not take part in the siege of Jerusalem.

Likewise, the rather negative picture given of Raymond Count of Toulouse, including insinuations that he was conveniently ill during "crunch times", reflects to some extent adverse propaganda from the Norman side. What is true, however, and very well shown in the book, is that Raymond was the richest of all the Crusader warlords that he sought to "poach" the knights of some of his rival warlords, and that he very probably "faked" the "Holy Lance" episode. It is also true that his bitter personal rivalry with Bohemond delayed the Crusaders from marching south and that the popularity of both suffered significantly as a result.

It is with the last part of the book that there are - perhaps - a couple of slight problems. The siege of Jerusalem and, even more so, the battle of Ascalon, feel rushed compared to the rest, as if the author was in a hurry to finish the book. Also, this last part, with the whole march down to the south, takes place without Bohemond who therefore is no longer the centre character in the Crusader army. His nephew Tancred only partly fills his shoes. Although he is shown to be backing Godefroy de Bouillon against the Count of Toulouse because the former was more sincere and not as self-centred as the later, Tancred choices may also have been driven by self-interest: as the nephew of Raymond's rival, he would anyway be an unlikely candidate for Saint Gilles' trust.

One last point is that while the book ends with what is conveniently termed the Frist Crusade, Bohemond (and Tancred) lived on and fought on. So, keep your fingers crossed and we might get yet another trilogy on the later years of Bohemond and those of Tancred, with the latter Regent and then Prince of Antioch.

For those than cannot wait, or who may want to learn more about the First Crusade and the Principality of Antioch, I can recommend two of my favourites: one is "Victory in the East", by John France, and the other is "The creation of the Principality of Antioch 1098-1130", by Thomas Asbridge. Both are superb reads. Although they are history books writen by scholars, as opposed to a gripping historical novel such as this one, they are anything but boring.
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