‘The Crusades and the Soldiers of the Cross’ is an exciting new book by best-selling author and historian Michael Rank about the quest to retake the Holy Land. It looks at the lives and times of the 10 most important people in one of the most interesting times in history, covering 1095 to 1212.
Whether it is Peter the Hermit raising an army of 100,000 peasants to fight in the Holy Land with nothing but pitchforks or Baldwin IV personally leading his forces against Saladin despite having terminal leprosy, these larger-than-life figures were all drawn to the Holy Land and compelled to forsake their vast land holdings while embarking on a dangerous adventure against a superior enemy.
This book will look at the reasons for these 10 figures joining the crusade. Perhaps it was for glory in battle, as was the case for Richard the Lionheart. For others it was simple curiosity, such as Eleanor of Aquitaine, who added dramatic panache to the whole affair and brought along 300 female servants donned in decorative armor and carrying lances while on the march to Jerusalem. For many it was a simple faith conviction, such as the thousands of child crusades, who legend has it marched to the Mediterranean sea and expected it to open for them as the Red Sea had done for Moses.