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The Knights of Dark Renown

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An epic historical adventure of the Crusader Knights full of chivalry, battle and intrigue Reynald of Chatillion, Prince Reynald to his friends, the Red Wolf of the Desert to the Saracens, is the most dangerous man in Palestine. His face tells a tale of epic battles hard-won, stitched together by the jagged scars of combat. England is divided and Christendom struggles to r An epic historical adventure of the Crusader Knights full of chivalry, battle and intrigue Reynald of Chatillion, Prince Reynald to his friends, the Red Wolf of the Desert to the Saracens, is the most dangerous man in Palestine. His face tells a tale of epic battles hard-won, stitched together by the jagged scars of combat. England is divided and Christendom struggles to retain its grip on the Holy Land... The code of chivalry chimes in hideous dissonance with massacre and cruelty as Reynauld is determined to raise the stakes of war to their limits. Based on real historical figures and events, Churchmen, barons, knights, courtiers, their wives and mistresses, are seen in sharp outline against a hard, dry, dangerous landscape commanded by huge castles and roamed by mounted soldiers. The Knights of Dark Renown is first in an epic historical series, The Crusader Knights Cycle, perfect for fans of Conn Iggulden, Anthony Riches and Bernard Cornwell. ‘An impressively confident first novel, most readable and refreshingly free from any pseudo-medieval mysticism’ Sunday Telegraph ‘The chivalry and the cruelty are finely balanced’ Daily Mirror ‘Highly enjoyable. Here we have a wide canvas of characters, almost all based on historical figures... The story is exciting as well as psychologically convincing and thought-provoking’ Financial Times


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An epic historical adventure of the Crusader Knights full of chivalry, battle and intrigue Reynald of Chatillion, Prince Reynald to his friends, the Red Wolf of the Desert to the Saracens, is the most dangerous man in Palestine. His face tells a tale of epic battles hard-won, stitched together by the jagged scars of combat. England is divided and Christendom struggles to r An epic historical adventure of the Crusader Knights full of chivalry, battle and intrigue Reynald of Chatillion, Prince Reynald to his friends, the Red Wolf of the Desert to the Saracens, is the most dangerous man in Palestine. His face tells a tale of epic battles hard-won, stitched together by the jagged scars of combat. England is divided and Christendom struggles to retain its grip on the Holy Land... The code of chivalry chimes in hideous dissonance with massacre and cruelty as Reynauld is determined to raise the stakes of war to their limits. Based on real historical figures and events, Churchmen, barons, knights, courtiers, their wives and mistresses, are seen in sharp outline against a hard, dry, dangerous landscape commanded by huge castles and roamed by mounted soldiers. The Knights of Dark Renown is first in an epic historical series, The Crusader Knights Cycle, perfect for fans of Conn Iggulden, Anthony Riches and Bernard Cornwell. ‘An impressively confident first novel, most readable and refreshingly free from any pseudo-medieval mysticism’ Sunday Telegraph ‘The chivalry and the cruelty are finely balanced’ Daily Mirror ‘Highly enjoyable. Here we have a wide canvas of characters, almost all based on historical figures... The story is exciting as well as psychologically convincing and thought-provoking’ Financial Times

30 review for The Knights of Dark Renown

  1. 4 out of 5

    Helena Schrader

    This is fun historical fiction with a cast of colorful characters, lots of dramatic action and exotic settings. I have to admit liking this book — and not just because Balian d’Ibelin is portrayed sympathetically, but it’s neither great literature nor good history. The “bad guys” are a little too bad, for my taste, and the “good guys” are a little too modern. There are scenes that seem totally removed from reality altogether, as when the Baron of Toron frolics at his castle with a squire and his This is fun historical fiction with a cast of colorful characters, lots of dramatic action and exotic settings. I have to admit liking this book — and not just because Balian d’Ibelin is portrayed sympathetically, but it’s neither great literature nor good history. The “bad guys” are a little too bad, for my taste, and the “good guys” are a little too modern. There are scenes that seem totally removed from reality altogether, as when the Baron of Toron frolics at his castle with a squire and his young bride but no apparent retinue, staff or responsibilities. There are numerous little errors as well: Balian was not lord of Nablus, (that was his wife’s dower portion), his brother left the kingdom rather than swear allegiance to Guy de Lusignan and was not at Hattin, Isabella was separated from her mother and step-father for three years before her marriage, Turcoples were native Christian troops, not Muslim converts or men of mixed Frankish and Syrian blood, swords at this time were rarely longer than two and a half feet — not the five foot swords described. Yet despite these errors, the book on the whole conveys the atmosphere of the times and captures a sense of the conflicts and values of the age far better than Holland’s prissy and egotistical courtiers of “Jerusalem.”

  2. 4 out of 5

    Terry Simpson

    Good, well written but more a history lesson As far as Templar stories go, this book is well researched but The m as in characters of Enouil, Humphrey lack sibstance. The disaster at Hattin is well documented and Shelby describes the lead up to this massacre with accuracy but with the importance and significance of the badly advised leadership and catastrophic egotistical actions of Guy, Raymond and Balian I felt the battle itself was rushed and too brief. Still, a good read.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Kinga

    So, after my Sienkiewicz fiasco (when I read all the spoilers of the book so much so that there was no reason left for me to actually finish it), I kind of accidentally came across this novel, The Knights of Dark Renown by Graham Shelby. (Yes I have been somewhat obsessed with the Crusader time for a month or so. Go figure.) More or less the same age, except it takes place in Palestine right before Ivanhoe's time (ends with the battle of Hattin, and Richard, the Lionhearted marched there because So, after my Sienkiewicz fiasco (when I read all the spoilers of the book so much so that there was no reason left for me to actually finish it), I kind of accidentally came across this novel, The Knights of Dark Renown by Graham Shelby. (Yes I have been somewhat obsessed with the Crusader time for a month or so. Go figure.) More or less the same age, except it takes place in Palestine right before Ivanhoe's time (ends with the battle of Hattin, and Richard, the Lionhearted marched there because of that defeat of the Crusaders), and is full of great characters and lots of actions. A tad too many characters, I think; now and then I had a hard time to keep track of who was who, mainly because not being familiar with that period, the names sounded so similar in certain cases. It is not high lit by any means (I am not sure about how accurate it was historically, looks like though, Shelby made several incorrect statements regarding actual persons and events), nevertheless, a good, solid, escapist book if you are in the mood. I was surprised to find out that there were actually two volumes in one book; so now I am going to read the next installment; this is the one where Richard shows up in the East with a bunch of other kings.

  4. 4 out of 5

    ELzabeth Livingstone

    Good A glimpse into the depth of how the different main participants acted. The real fascination was, for me as the reader, the personalities and behaviour during the battles causing the defeats.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Matt Kelland

    A fast-moving, exciting novel set in the turbulent Kingdom of Jerusalem, leading up to the decisive battle of Hattin. The politics and personalities are well portrayed, and seem to be pretty faithful to known historical details. Think of it as a dragonless game of thrones, and you're about right. A fast-moving, exciting novel set in the turbulent Kingdom of Jerusalem, leading up to the decisive battle of Hattin. The politics and personalities are well portrayed, and seem to be pretty faithful to known historical details. Think of it as a dragonless game of thrones, and you're about right.

  6. 4 out of 5

    mr w donaldson

    Good read An enjoyable read found it was a real pleasure to read will be looking forward to more from this author

  7. 4 out of 5

    Chris Lynch

    Marvellous fast-paced blend of historical fact and fiction, covering the disastrous events of 1183 - 1187 in the crusader Kingdom of Jerusalem, that precipitated the Third Crusade (covered in the sequel, The Kings of Vain Intent). Great characterisations of real historical personalities - especially liked Raynald of Châtillon, much better than his depiction in the film 'Kingdom of Heaven' which painted him as something of a buffoon. I acquired my copy in a box full of books I picked up for next t Marvellous fast-paced blend of historical fact and fiction, covering the disastrous events of 1183 - 1187 in the crusader Kingdom of Jerusalem, that precipitated the Third Crusade (covered in the sequel, The Kings of Vain Intent). Great characterisations of real historical personalities - especially liked Raynald of Châtillon, much better than his depiction in the film 'Kingdom of Heaven' which painted him as something of a buffoon. I acquired my copy in a box full of books I picked up for next to nothing in a house clearance sale in 1989. It was a real find. And 23 years later I have just gotten around to reading the sequel....

  8. 5 out of 5

    Sebastian

    A little underwhelmed, to be honest. I know the rest of the story continues in The Kings of Vain Intent but I expected... more. A little underwhelmed, to be honest. I know the rest of the story continues in The Kings of Vain Intent but I expected... more.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Dean

    I am so glad I happened to come across this book and author. fan's of the movie "Kingdom of heaven" will like this book. The characters in the movie are in this book. I have already found and ordered the sequel's to this book. Easy read. I am so glad I happened to come across this book and author. fan's of the movie "Kingdom of heaven" will like this book. The characters in the movie are in this book. I have already found and ordered the sequel's to this book. Easy read.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Tim

    Very cool and compact historic fiction. First red it back in the 80s. Deserves a reprinting. Graham Shelby - forerunner of Ridley Scott's Kingdom of Heaven. Wish I could find a copy now. Very cool and compact historic fiction. First red it back in the 80s. Deserves a reprinting. Graham Shelby - forerunner of Ridley Scott's Kingdom of Heaven. Wish I could find a copy now.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Susan

    Baldwin is adorable in it, but it has some historical accuracy issues.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Greg Hollingsworth

  13. 5 out of 5

    Bryan Field-Enticott

  14. 4 out of 5

    Tamikasipke

  15. 4 out of 5

    Stuart Harris

  16. 4 out of 5

    Lyall Dawson

  17. 4 out of 5

    Gerald

  18. 4 out of 5

    Libby

  19. 5 out of 5

    Martin Dukes

  20. 4 out of 5

    Anthonie van Heusden

  21. 5 out of 5

    Megan Hoyt

  22. 5 out of 5

    mike harrison

  23. 4 out of 5

    Anne Kelly

  24. 4 out of 5

    Tom Etteridge

  25. 4 out of 5

    Linda

  26. 4 out of 5

    Diane L

  27. 4 out of 5

    Andrew

  28. 4 out of 5

    Count of the Saxon Shore

  29. 5 out of 5

    Ted P

  30. 4 out of 5

    Jeff

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