The Templar Trilogy (Knights of the Black and White, 2006) continues as Europe’s most powerful knights follow Richard the Lionheart on his crusade against the armies of Saladin.
It’s 1187. On his last legs, Henry II refuses to name his gay son Richard as heir to the throne of England and the string of duchies on the continent. The king is just being ornery. Richard is the greatest warrior of his time, a real man’s man—and there are plenty of ways to get around that production-of-an-heir business. When the king dies in 1189, Richard lines up the best and the brightest to go to the Holy Land to avenge the recent stupendous rout of the Christians. At the top of the prince’s must-have list are Henry and André St. Clair. Widowed Henry is moping about his estate in Poitou, mourning his wife and readying himself to join her, when son André gets into a spot of woman trouble, from which he is capably rescued by the St. Clairs’ feudal lord, Richard Plantagenet. Accompanying the Lionheart on this foray is Robert de Sablé, a member of the Templars’ crypto-Jewish inner circle, the Brotherhood of Sion. Richard shakes Henry out of his funk and bullies the old warrior into becoming his Master-at-Arms for the upcoming crusade. Meanwhile, de Sablé prompts André to renew his lapsed commitment to the Templars and the Brotherhood of Sion in addition to serving his king. Once the younger St. Clair reaches Palestine, the Brotherhood instructs him, he must contact his Scottish cousin Alec, who has spent the past few years as a prisoner of the Saracens. Two comely queens have cameo roles as everyone marches off to reclaim the Middle East for the Christians.
Middle-of-the-adventure story told in sturdy, serviceable prose.