Defender of Jerusalem

Defender of Jerusalem

by Helena P Schrader


Publisher Wheatmark

Published in Literature & Fiction/Historical, Literature & Fiction

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Book Description

WINNER: JOHN WEAVER AWARD 2017 for Historical Fiction, Middle Ages

"This is a do-not-miss series that you will keep on your shelves in order to read again and again." -- FEATHERED QUILL

"Dr. Schrader brilliantly synthesizes the roles of academician and master storyteller." REAL CRUSADES HISTORY

"This book deserves more than five stars. I was up until 02.00 this morning because I just could not put the book down. ...The writing is so good, you are transported to "The Horns of Hattin" and along the ramparts of Jerusalem...." An Amazon Reviewer

Sample Chapter

“Is someone there?” an anxious voice asked through the door.

Ibelin felt a surge of relief; the voice was familiar. It belonged to Ibrahim, the Syrian slave who had served the King almost his entire life.

Ibelin leaned toward the wooden door and spoke in a low voice. “It’s me, Balian d’Ibelin.”

“Lord Balian? Allahu Akbar!” The key turned in the lock and the door opened to reveal the old slave in his long kaftan and Muslim skullcap, bowing over his hands in welcome. The room behind him was in shadow. All the shutters had been closed over the windows, although the intensity of the afternoon sun ensured that it was not really dark. At this time of year, the shade could not entirely block out the heat, either, and without fresh air the temperature was stifling. The room smelled badly, too—of sweat and medicine and stale air.

“I came as soon as I received word the King was ill, but I was denied access—”

Ibrahim silenced him by holding a long, elegant finger to his lips. “I understand,” he assured Ibelin. “His mother guards him jealously, but he has asked for you. He will be pleased—no, grateful— that you have come. Only—” Ibrahim looked anxiously over his shoulder toward the large four-poster bed, enclosed in heavy damask curtains, “he is—is losing consciousness. Or rather, it comes and goes. Sometimes he seems to know what is going on around him. At other times he is oblivious. And other times still, he sees things we do not. He has spoken to his father as if he were in the room with him. And once he reared up in his bed and gasped out: ‘My lord, I am unworthy to be the defender of your tomb’—as if he thought the Prophet Jesus stood in front of him.”

“Let me see him, Ibrahim, whatever state he’s in—before I am discovered and tossed out again by Dame Agnes.”

Ibrahim nodded and turned to lead the way to the bed. He stepped up on the raised platform on which the bed stood and leaned through the curtains to whisper gently, “Your grace, Lord Balian has come.”

“Balian?” The voice was so weak and dry—almost dusty—that the sound of it wrenched Balian’s heart. Ibrahim simply stood back with a smile and gestured Ibelin forward.

Ibelin stepped up onto the platform and leaned over the bed. It was overflowing with cushions and comforters, the latter ridiculous in the summer heat, and the King lay on top of all, wearing only a thin cotton nightshirt. Even so he was sweating visibly, and his hands and feet, naked of bandages, were discolored. The fingers of his right hand were starting to deform as the leprosy consumed them, and he had lost several of his toes, so his feet were stubby and misshapen. His face, while untouched by the disease, was deathly pale and almost skeletal. His lips were chapped and dry and his eyes were sunken in their sockets, but they sought out Balian’s face as if they wanted to consume it.


“Your grace—”

“Call me Baldwin, like you used to.”


Excerpted from "Defender of Jerusalem" by Helena P Schrader. Copyright © 2015 by Helena P Schrader. Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher. Excerpts are provided solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
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Author Profile

Helena P Schrader

Helena P Schrader

For readers tired of clichés and cartoons, award-winning novelist Helena P. Schrader offers nuanced insight to historical events and figures based on sound research and an understanding of human nature. Her complex and engaging characters bring history back to life as a means to better understand ourselves.

View full Profile of Helena P Schrader

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