Date Published: August 2016
Winner of the Pinnacle Award 2016 for Biographical Fiction, the Feathered Quill Award 2017 for Spiritual/Religious Fiction, and a Foreword INDIES Award for Military/Wartime Fiction.
Balian has survived the devastating defeat of the Frankish army at the Battle of Hattin, and walked away a free man after the surrender of Jerusalem, but he is baron of nothing in a kingdom that no longer exists. Haunted by the tens of thousands of Christians now enslaved by the Saracens, he is determined to regain what has been lost. The arrival of a vast crusading army under the soon-to-be-legendary Richard the Lionheart offers hope — but also conflict, as natives and crusaders clash and French and English quarrel.
Other Books in the Balian d’Ibelin Series
Knight of Jerusalem
Published: September 2014
Balian, the landless son of a local baron, goes to Jerusalem to seek his fortune. Instead, he finds himself trapped into serving the young prince suffering from leprosy, an apparent sentence to obscurity and death. But the unexpected death of King Amalric makes the leper boy King Baldwin IV of Jerusalem, and Balian’s prospects begin to improve.
The Byzantine princess Maria Comnena is just thirteen years old when she arrives in the Kingdom of Jerusalem at her great uncle’s orders to cement the alliance between the two Christian kingdoms in the East. The child wife of a man almost three times her own age, she is despite her excellent education and intelligence little more than a pretty doll in the eyes of her husband. When she fails to produce a male heir for the desperate king, her marriage becomes a gilded prison. Until suddenly the king is dead and Maria finds herself a wealthy widow at just twenty years of age.
Meanwhile, the charismatic Kurdish leader Saladin has united the forces of Islam and vowed to drive the Christians into the sea. While King Baldwin IV—and Balian—struggle to save the Holy Land for Christendom by whatever means they can, the internal rivalries of Templars and Hospitallers, the advocates of offense and defense, and the bitter rivalries of barons threaten to tear the kingdom apart.
Defender of Jerusalem
Published: July 2015
The Christian kingdom of Jerusalem is under siege. The charismatic Kurdish leader, Salah ad-Din, has succeeded in uniting Shiite Egypt with Sunnite Syria and has now declared jihad against the Christian kingdom. While King Baldwin IV struggles to defend his kingdom from the external threat despite the increasing ravages of leprosy, the struggle for the succession threatens to tear the kingdom apart from the inside. In the high-stakes game, one man stands out for his loyalty to the dying king, the kingdom, and Christianity itself. That man is Balian d’Ibelin.
This is the second book in a three-part biographical novel about Balian d’Ibelin, who defended Jerusalem against Salah ad-Din in 1187. The first book in the series, Knight of Jerusalem, was a finalist for the 2014 Chaucer Award for Historical Fiction and a B.R.A.G. Medallion Honoree.
About the Author
Helena P. Schrader earned a PhD in History from the University of Hamburg with a ground-breaking biography of a leader of the German Resistance to Hitler. She has published numerous works of fiction and non-fiction since.
Her Jerusalem Trilogy, set in the Holy Land in the late 12th century, has won critical acclaim.