Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Standard of Honor-Jack Whyte

Standard of Honor
Jack Whyte
Putnam, Dec 2007, $25.95
ISBN 9780399154294

Led by Richard the Lionhearted, 50,000 soldiers are ready to do battle to regain the Holy Land from the Saracen chieftain Saladin and his forces. Amongst Richard’s army is Knight of the Templar Alexander Sinclair, who is willing to die to see the Christians succeed in this Crusade against the unfaithful. He and the rest of the force believe victory is theirs because God is on their side.

However, to the shock and consternation of the Christian Crusaders, the battle by Galilee turns into a defeat. Richard refuses to quit on his dream of the Holy Land controlled by Christians; he plans to raise another but bigger army. To do so he sails home accompanied by his loyal master-at-arms Henry St. Clair and the armorer’s son, Andre, a Templar belonging to the top secret Brotherhood of Sion, a group with their own agenda.

The second Templar tale (see KNIGHTS OF THE BLACK AND WHITE) is a fabulous historical fiction tale that brings alive the Lionhearted Crusade in the Holy Land and the king’s efforts to raise money and men. The story line plays out on two levels. First there is throughout all sorts of political shenanigans occurring as everyone has a secret agenda; second there are the battles between the Christian Defenders of the Faith and the Saracens defending their Holy Land. Jack Whyte provides a strong vivid middle tale so picturesque readers will taste the desert dust.

Harriet Klausner