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Publisher's Summary

The year 1096. The Pope has called for a Crusade to free Jerusalem, and half the warriors of Europe have responded. Among them is the Norman, Count Bohemund, one-time enemy of Byzantium, whose help is required if progress is to be possible. In company with his warrior nephew, Tancred of Lecce, Bohemund must once more cross the Adriatic to the lands of the Byzantine Empire.

His first task, pushing back the Infidel Turks, calls for an uneasy alliance with old enemy Emperor Alexius. But can the Crusaders trust the wily Emperor, and is he really on their side? With old tensions and grudges arising, and the violent crusades of the People's Pilgrimage bringing destruction upon middle Europe, the strength of this reluctant truce, and the de Hauteville dynasty itself, is truly put to the test.

©2012 Jack Ludlow (P)2012 Audible Ltd

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  • Story

More history than fiction.

Narrator did a good job. Editing not always fluid. Hard to keep up with all the characters. The historical figures are moved around in the story but maybe because they are historical it is challenging to give them more depth as characters. But it was fun at times to understand the history as if you are in the midst of the battles.

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Excellent Way to Learn About the Crusades

I don't know much about Jack Ludlow's background, but he writes more like an historian than a master storyteller. This fact gives me hope that the tales are reasonably accurate.

With subject matter that is so complex and that spans such a long time period, it is difficult to tell the story well through character interaction. Ludlow uses a lot of author narrative to convey the main story and dots it with occasional bits of character interaction. It is interesting and easy to follow, but lacks the quality that makes other novels impossible to put down. However, it is substantially more captivating than a history textbook, and makes a great way to learn about the Crusades.

I definitely plan to complete the series.

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Bohemond and the First Crusade

As always Jack Ludlow captures the pulse and throbbing adventure of the Crusades. This is a continuation of a series about the Normans in Italy which started with Mercenaries and the tale of William de Hauteville. Now the Normans having conquered the southern part of Italy, the latest de Hauteville, Bohemond is called by Pope Urban, like many noblemen of the time, to take part in a Crusade to rescue Jerusalem from the Infidels.

This is bascially a tale of the First Crusade from the Norman leaders point of view -- namely Bohemond and Tancred. Ludlow's stories move right along from the machinations of the Byzantine Emperor Alexius I to the battles and deaths along the road to Antioch. Joining with Bohemond is Tancred, his maternal nephew, who will eventually play an important role in the Christian kingdoms of Outremer.

Like all of Jack Ludlow's book's this is fast paced, good characterization and occasional historical missteps to keep the story moving.

I have enjoyed the series and Jonathan Keeble is an excellent narrator

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Another Chapter in a Great Series!

Ludlow did his homework in researching the characters in this, the second trilogy of the de Hauteville family. The story-line is great and the narration is continually excellent and my only problem is that I finish the novel too, too quickly. It is hard to turn off the IPOD. Can't wait for Book 3!