THE INFIDELS by Chloe Gartner


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A first novel and a powerful one, in a story of the First Crusade and the sack of Jerusalem. France of the 11th century backgrounds the first part of the story when Justin of the fief of Aere wedded lovely young Yolanze of Sacrebois- Yolanze who did not quite know with whom she was in love,- Guillaume, landless knight of her father's household, or Philip, father of Justin, or Justin himself. And it was this uncertainty that was to dog her footsteps through her life. Those days of so-called chivalry had strange mores, and Chloe Gartner gives great vitality to her picture of the life-and the people. With the Crusades, women followed their men- by land and sea, to camp and beleaguered cities. This is no rose-colored picture. The First Crusade emerges as a crude struggle between leaders out for wealth and glory, forced to make oaths they cannot keep, to shut their eyes to the gory massacres, the looting of cities, the raping of the women. Poverty and famine on both sides -- so that when a city fell there was nothing left. And nowhere did the memory of the spiritual goal survive, except, perhaps, in a tiny band that called themselves the Hospitallers. The story ends with the fall of Jerusalem -- and back home, wasted fields, empty larders, and even those left in charge, dying of want, unshriven.

Publisher: Doubleday