Crusaders Author:Gary Robert Muschla France, 1095. Raised in a monastery, sixteen-year-old Robert is not sure if he wants to commit his life to God, or to be a knight. His abbot hopes that at Clermont, where Pope Urban II will call upon Christians to liberate the Holy Land from the Muslim Turks, Robert will declare himself for God's army. At the Council, Robert meets Count Edga... more »r of Sarvaux, and his lovely daughter, Eleanor. Robert vows to liberate Jerusalem, joins with Count Edgard's group and trains for war with them. Fernand, a hot-tempered knight is Robert's rival for Eleanor, but it is Robert who saves her from a wild boar and then from the drunken Fernand.
Four months later, Edgard's party journeys to Cologne to join thousands of warriors and pilgrims under Peter the Hermit, who will lead them to the Holy Land. Battles and killings along the way prompt Robert and Eleanor to question their feelings about God and about each other. After reaching Constantinople, they sail across the Bosporus to Anatolia. In the Dracon Valley, their army is destroyed, but not before Edgard orders Robert to retreat and save Eleanor, who is back at the Christian camp. Eleanor misinterprets Robert's return as meaning he left her father to die to save her.
In their retreat, Robert and Eleanor come upon an attack on a merchant named Solomon ben Sahl. His caravan has been destroyed. Robert saves him. Thankful, and realizing Robert's abilities in French and Greek are compatible with his plans to expand business into the West, Solomon insists that Robert and Eleanor stay with him and his daughter, Ruth, in Constantinople. Wrestling with her guilt about being alive, Eleanor now believes she has lost Robert to Ruth and vows that she will return to France alone. As soon as Robert leaves on a journey with Solomon to Antioch, Ruth tells Eleanor what really happened in the Dracon Valley.
Robert knows he will now keep his vow to free Jerusalem, but he must first make sure that Eleanor has departed for France. He finds her waiting for him in Constantinople, and they both determine to rejoin the crusade. Living through the final terrible battle for Jerusalem, while Christian knights slaughter the inhabitants, Robert leads people to safety. Robert and Eleanor realize that their love is God's sign. They return to Constantinople to begin anew together.« less