Crusader King: A Novel of Baldwin IV and the Crusades by Susan Peek is an extremely powerful and breathtaking historical novel.
I read the entire book within twenty-four hours because it was that good! I literally couldn’t put it down and read the first half in one sitting.
In this tremendously moving story, young Baldwin IV shoulders more responsibility at age 13 than most do in a lifetime when he becomes King of Jerusalem in the year 1174. Besides facing enemies in the form of vicious Turks and calculating usurpers to his throne, Baldwin faces the incurable and horrifying affliction of leprosy.
But together with his loyal friend Theo, Baldwin learns that true bravery isn’t about not being afraid, but doing the right thing even when you are, and trusting in God. Both young men discover incredible courage, fortitude, faith, devotion, and sacrifice as they grow with zeal in the face of frightening adversity and battles.
And what battles! The heart-pounding suspense and intensity sweep readers right onto the battlefield. Impressive as it is, the fighting is never glorified for its own sake, but seen in the proper perspective of fighting for what is good and holy. Battle scenes are tempered with entertaining and enlightening scenes of characters and kingdom life. Readers are given a fascinating glimpse into the ways of the Knights Templar, as well as treated to a stunning plot twist!
I’m in awe of the author’s ability to infuse the characters with such life and vigor. She works the various viewpoints to perfection—keeping the story rolling and captivating. Teens and adults alike will enjoy this book and will cheer and weep for both Baldwin and Theo as they soldier on through remarkable odds.
Crusader King is a most worthy read in the truest sense, sure to grip your mind, heart, and soul—and send you searching for more of Ms. Peek’s books!