Julian’s Crusade

Written by M. H. Achmann
Review by Jeff Westerhoff

In 1190, Julian, younger son of the Duke of Montguyon, is ordered to escort Princess Berengaria of Navarre to the city of Messina. She is betrothed to King Richard of England. His journey takes him to Italy, then to Cyprus to meet with the king, who then leads Julian, Princess Berengaria, and his army to the Holy Land to fight the Saracens. Once peace is restored in the Outremer, Julian accompanies the princess home to England, where she is to live with Richard. While traveling through Eastern Europe, Richard is captured by the Germans and held for ransom. Traveling separately from Richard, Julian is mysteriously wounded by an arrow and seeks refuge at a nearby German castle. He is unaware that someone is out to kill him before he arrives back home.

A first time author, Ms. Achmann has written about the Third Crusade with a different approach than many readers may be accustomed to, and as the title implies. Only a small portion of the book actually takes place in the Outremer. Her knowledge and understanding of this era are excellent, blending historical characters, such as King Richard and his wife, Berengaria, with her fictional characters. The culture and politics (holding Richard for ransom) are effectively evoked, bringing this period to life. I found this book a pleasure to read and would highly recommend it.