Another tour de force from Paul Doherty, though not set in Medieval England but during the First Crusade to recapture the Holy Lands from the Turks and Saracens.
Following two siblings of the de Payen family, Hugh and Eleanor, the novel traces the journey of a group that starts as the Poor Brethren of the Temple as they leave France and travel across Europe to the very walls of Jerusalem. The novel ends with the taking of Jerusalem by the Franks, with the Poor Brethren having being transformed into the Portal of the Temple with their own distinctive reasons for participating in the crusade.
Across the journey, there is murder and intrigue, betrayal and subterfuge, and, as Doherty remarks in his ‘Historical Note’ there is sufficient historicity to the tale for it be both engaging and believable.
Well worth a read by anyone interested in the crusades, or in the history of the Templars.