Book One – “ For power. For passion. For glory. The epic story of the knights templar. Born in 1150 to a noble family in the Kingdom of Western Götaland, young Arn Magnusson is marked early on by a miraculous and fateful event. When the boy inexplicably recovers after falling from the parapet of his ancestral home, his mother finds herself beholden to a promise made in a moment of prayer. Arn, second-born son of Magnus Folkesson, will live his life in the service of God—sent from his family to do holy work and to prepare for a position in the priory. At Varnhem monastery, Arn comes of age under the tutelage of Father Henri, a Cistercian monk devoted to his aristocratic pupil's education. However, grammar, math, and logic are not the only lessons: Brother Guilbert, the monastery blacksmith and former Knight Templar, finds Arn adept at training of a very different kind. Observing the boy's extraordinary talent with horse, sword, and bow, Father Henri, trusting in God's will, sends his charge into the world to fulfill a destiny that lies beyond the cloister walls. Returning home, Arn finds his monastic habits at odds with his clan's old and tested ways. Yet his family soon discovers that Arn has learned more than poetry and farm work, and he proves himself useful at a time when he is needed most. The murder of a king has brought Western Götaland into a whirlwind of intrigue, and cunning lords from East and West are vying for power. And, when Arn meets the lovely Cecilia, he discovers this new and dangerous world holds other surprises too. Before he can claim her hand, however, the headstrong and naïve noble makes a fateful mistake that will wrench him from his love and send him to a foreign war—to the Holy Land to battle infidels for twenty years. From the frozen landscapes of Northern Europe to the bloody battlefields of the Middle East, Arn will face brave knights, powerful queens, and treacherous kings. The first book in the international bestselling Crusades Trilogy, this thrilling epic of betrayal, faith, blood, and love sets "a Shakespearian quest for power" (Corriere della Sera, Italy) against the backdrop of the Holy Wars, witnessed through a vibrant, unorthodox lens.
Book Two - “A knight in the Holy Land. A woman in the frozen north. A war that kept them apart... Among the last bastion of God's holy warriors determined to save Jerusalem from the Muslims, Arn Magnusson of the Knights Templar is renowned as a man of compassion, strength, and faith, even among the enemy Saracens–Saladin and his Muslim followers. Yet, neither time nor distance can lessen Arn's pain of separation from his beloved Cecilia; confined to a cloister back home in western GÖtaland, his betrothed, the mother of their newborn son, is a pawn in a war between clans vying for control of the crown. And when an accident of fate brings together Arn and Saladin, an unlikely friendship is forged that will alter the course of the Templar knight's life, and the history of Jerusalem itself.”
Book Three – “An exiled warrior determined to unite his homeland returns to face his greatest battle yet in this stirring final volume in the trilogy that began with The Road to Jerusalem—a critically acclaimed epic "destined to become a classic" (Sharon Kay Penman). Exiled from his home and the woman he loves, Arn de Gotha became one of the fiercest and most feared warriors of the Knights Templar. But now that Jerusalem has been lost to the man who saved him—his longtime enemy and trusted friend Saladin—the weary nobleman, ravaged by wounds and illness, can finally return to his beloved Sweden. During his twenty years of exile, warring clans have torn Arn's homeland apart. Determined to reunite it under the Folkung lineage and establish lasting peace, he sets off with a band of skilled craftsmen and doctors from the Holy Land whose talents and knowledge are unknown to the northern world. With the superior skills of the foreign men, Arn sets about building an estate to rival those of the most powerful in the region. And waiting for him is his beloved Cecilia. Emerging from a convent after their unfathomably long separation, Cecilia is beset by the clan's demands that she return to monastic life, while Arn is urged to marry into a competing family, for the sake of avoiding war. Arn and Cecilia are reunited, but new obstacles have been set in their path. They can only hope to convince their clan that love ranks higher than politics, and that it can sustain a new quest: to create a new people, a new society—both Christian and Muslim, craftsmen and warriors—with Arn at its helm. A rousing, satisfying conclusion to an unforgettable and original epic, Birth of the Kingdom tells the story of a warrior's transformative journey, and of the love that founded a nation. (Birth of the Kingdom: Book Three of the Crusades Trilogy by Jan Guillou – Harper)
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