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4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5 stars
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on 1 May 2017
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on 20 April 2017
great read
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on 21 October 2015
Excellent book
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on 28 November 2013
Those Crusades went on for a bit didn't they? If you read `Crusade' by Robyn Young, you may just think that she has done a minute by minute reconstruction of events, as this is one slow and long book. Will Campbell is a Templar Knight who is part of a secret group to maintain peace in the troubled Holy Lands. However, over the next decade or so several factions will do their best to break the peace and cause a war that will kills thousands.

Balancing authenticity and entertainment is a difficult task and masters like Cornwell and Iggulden have spent years making it look easy. `Crusade' is an example of how you can be a slave to fact and create a bland fiction. Many of the events in `Crusade' actually happened and Young is at pains to include them in the book. It is set during a time of false peace were people from both sides talked of peace, but planned for war. The fact is that all-out war did not happen for a long time and `Crusade' reflects this. Instead you get a lot of politics about an era I don't know enough about. Reading about men in dusty rooms talking about conspiracies eventually wears very thin.

With strong characterisation the book could have actually worked; real people caught in a deadly situation. However, there were problems with the way that Young writes. For one, there are too many characters. We are told about the conflict from both religious sides, but also from factions within both sides. Too many people, with too many differing ideals - unfortunately, many of their names were too similar! Will's story is the strongest in the book and thankfully is the most prominent. However, this is far too swamped in the politics of others that you grow distant from him. `Crusade' is split into three parts, perhaps it would have been better in 3 separate books, each ending on a high? Instead, it feels like Young had to put all of it in one novel as that is the only way enough things can happen to justify the book.
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on 10 June 2009
The first thing I have to say about this book is that it's too long, and that should have been dealt with by some decent editing. I love a bit of good descriptive writing, but sometimes one can have just too many adjectives, too carefully detailed a reaction, too much introspection and too deep an insight into characters' feelings. I suppose one of the biggest problems was feeling any real attachment to Will, and it's such a shame, because he's a brilliant idea for a character.

BUT, I think the setting and what Young does with it is excellent and most of the other characters are interesting and well-written. I like the way she juggles the action between locations and the way she describes the various fights and battles and I enjoyed the unfolding of events and development of (most of) the characters affected by them. I was a bit disappointed that we never really go to meet the Mongols, but apart from that, a pretty good read all in all, and I expect I'll read the final book; I see that it's about 100 pages shorter than this one, so let's hope that that's a reduction in the superfluous and not just a shortage of plot.
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on 18 January 2013
The story of Will Campbell began in `Brethren' and which continued in `Requiem' comes to its end in this dramatic, exciting installment. This outstanding historical masterpiece encapsulates brilliantly the bloody violence, heated rage and deep-rooted enmity of the times as the Templar Knights are brought vividly to life on the page. Will Campbell is a heroic character whose bravery, steel-mindset of determination and goodness of heart is commendable. Within this brilliant book alongside the ultimate finale to this enormous tale do you also find within, new unexpected happenings that threaten to turn everything on its head. Intense drama, thrilling nail-biting action and shocking events make this trilogy one of the most exceptional I have encountered within this genre!

Will Campbell is a Templar Knight, trained for war. But as a member of the secret brotherhood known as the Brethren, he is also a man of peace. After years of bloodshed, the Brethren have helped to create an uneasy truce between the Christian and Muslim forces in the Holy Land. But there are those on both sides for whom peace is not an option. And when an assassination attempt is made on the new Grand Master of the Temple, Campbell finds himself caught in a devastating web of deception and destruction as the Eastern World rushes headlong towards a catastrophic conflict...

Born to fight.
Born to protect.
Destined to be betrayed.

Intricately detailed, cleverly complex and beautifully written this exhilarating ride, action-packed story is just wonderful. Believable characters amidst a realistic setting, makes this atmospheric saga authentic to the core as Young evokes the era brilliantly. Robyn Young is an outstanding contemporary writer whose work never disappoints, leaving you sat on the edge of your seat wanting to read more!
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on 5 May 2008
For what it's worth, I thought that Brethren, the first in this yet-to-be-completed trilogy, was very good - the characters had depth, the storyline had credibility, it was a page-turner (never a bad thing if one has had to endure the hideous gloom of Thomas Hardy in one's youth) and the lovely Miss Young writes excellent and well-constructed English. It was a fine effort from one so young and also showed evidence of a great deal of careful historical research to root the novel in a bed of basic fact.

Unusually for me, I actually sought out Crusade with real eagerness and settled down on a particularly wet and horrible weekend (which also featured much Gordon Brown on the tele - that's how bad a weekend it was) to enjoy it. Enjoy it I did, but with some reservations and it seems unkind to criticise adversely because Miss Young has achieved a great deal. Here, again for what it's worth, are some of my reservations:

1. The novel is about 150 pages too long. There is no doubt that the author wanted to cram in as much as possible and build the book up to a cracking ending - but there are long passages where not a lot happens, and more by circumstance than by style, they plod.
2. The characters have become a little formulaic. The Sultan's evil advisor never talks, he hisses. Will's girlfriend is such an unspeakable drip that one is surprised she hasn't dissolved by the 4th chapter. The wronged friend who betrays his old mate and yet comes good at the end is tiresome. Yet I have to say that once again Robyn's depiction of life in Acre during the Crusades is good - hot, miserable, disease-ridden and run through with finance and the intrigues that always follow war and conflict. As J B Priestly said, "Sex, money and food cross all borders."
3. Robyn Young's writing is efficient but no so vibrant as in the first book.

All that said, I shall seek out the final chapter and no doubt read it with pleasure. Whenever I have tried to write a novel I have run out of ideas by page three so I have no right to judge Miss Young. I do hope, though, that she is economical with the story and with the various plots. She is a fascinating writer and I have no doubt at all that her books over the years will become more and more interesting. To her great credit, nowhere does she affect to be writing history and one is aware that this is a real novel.

A sensible and well-thought out novel, but not so available as Brethren. Nonetheless, far, far better than a holiday potboiler.
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on 3 February 2009
I got this book after reading the first one awhile ago and I got is cheap on Amazon and it did not disappoint. First it tells both sides of the story and that is interesting and it is a great read for men just because it has everything really and actually not badly written.
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on 5 September 2014
I said in my review of the first book of this series that I was anticipating reading the rest of the series as I thoroughly enjoyed Brethren. Well I have read the second and am glad to say it is as good as the first, The drama and intrigue between the Mamluks and the Christians is the main story line but there are many others as well. That is what I liked most about this book; that the author could weave together so many plots and subplots into a very readable and enjoyable tale. I know that some readers of historical fiction look for historical accuracy over the fact of mere story telling…I am not one of those. For me it is enough to know that the Middle-East has always been in turmoil and probably always will be. If an author can take that turmoil and write an entertaining story involving the strife between Muslim, Jew and Christian then I am content. Given that premise, Robyn Young has done a marvelous job and I will be continuing my reading of her work. I give it 5 stars.

About the author:

Robyn Young was born in Oxford and grew up in the Midlands and a fishing village in Devon, during which time she won awards for poetry and edited a regular page in a regional newspaper. After hitchhiking to Brighton at 19, she worked as a festival organiser, a music promoter and a financial advisor. She wrote two novels before gaining a Masters in Creative Writing at the University of Sussex.

Her first published novel, BRETHREN, went straight into the Sunday Times top ten, where it remained for five weeks, becoming the bestselling hardback debut of the year. It entered the New York Times top twenty on publication in the US and was named book of the year by German newspaper Bild. Her second novel, CRUSADE, reached number 2 and REQUIEM completed the trilogy. In 2007, Robyn was named one of Waterstone’s twenty-five ‘authors of the future’, judged by a panel of one hundred industry insiders who were asked to nominate the authors they believed would contribute the greatest body of work over the next quarter century.

The inspiration for Robyn’s new bestselling trilogy, which began in 2010 with INSURRECTION and continued in 2012 with RENEGADE, was inspired by a research trip to Scotland and is based on the life of Robert Bruce. The third novel, KINGDOM, will be published in 2014 in the month of the 700th anniversary of the Battle of Bannockburn.

Alongside writing novels, Robyn has collaborated on a WWII screenplay. Her novels have been published in 22 countries in 19 languages and together have sold almost 2 million copies.
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on 23 October 2007
I wrote a review on the first in this series (Brethren) and ended wishing for hopes that the second installment imporved on the first. The reality is I read these novels hoping to meet an author of historical fiction, someone who could weave research and detail into a great plot and rich characters.

What I should have appreciated is that this is not historical fiction (no matter what it says of the fly sleeve). The opening chapters introduce us to characters carved out of the C20th and dropped into the middle ages. This is a good yarn but it's like reading about a re-enactment society; eveyone's dressed up in 'ye olde clothes' but thinking, speaking and acting like the us.

Sorry to disappoint, it's not a bad book - it's just not "historical" - I want to be immersed into the period not shown the costumes.
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