The author of Blessed Are the Meek with another richly caparisoned historical novel, this time a tale of the Twelfth Century, when the rule of Baldwin IV, king of Jerusalem, was vastly disturbed by conflict with Saladin, and by the machinations of the Heights Templar and his own wanton sister, Sibylla. The story is slow getting under way, and for this reader at least, lacked the emotional appeal of its predecessor. One could feel pity and respect for the young king, a leper from boyhood, foiled in his desire to find a good successor, and forced, near the end of his life, to lead a brilliant charge against the foe, with his sword lashed to his rotting hand, and his helpless legs strapped to his saddle. But one had nothing but scorn for the lovely snake woman, Sibylla, plotting against the kingdom, against the serenity of the weak Guy de Lusignan, whom she wearned from his true love, and manipulated into marriage through a trick. Briefly rulers, after the death of her infant son, they lost the gains of the leper king, and eventually made necessary the Third Crusade. A complex situation, not brought into focus by the intricacies of this story, makes The Leper King hard reading. The success of the earlier book will stimulate sales for this.