The Land Beyond the Sea by Sharon Penman
Filled with drama and battle, tragedy and romance, Sharon Penman's The Land Beyond the Sea tells the epic tale of a clash of cultures that will resonate with readers today.
1172. The Kingdom of Jerusalem, also known as Outremer - the land beyond the sea.
A young realm, Outremer was baptized in blood when the men of the First Crusade captured Jerusalem from the Saracens in 1099. The crusaders who stayed have adapted to an utterly new world: a landscape of blazing heat, exotic customs and enemies who are also neighbours.
Seeking retribution for the massacre in 1099, Saladin, leader of the vast Saracen army, launches a campaign to reclaim the sacred land from its current ruler, Baldwin IV. But while the young king proves to be intelligent, courageous and dedicated to the welfare and protection of his people, he lives his life under the terrible affliction of leprosy which has plagued him from an early age.
While the scheming of rival factions and fierce political deception plague the halls of the royal court, the ever-present threat from Saladin weighs heavily on the young king's shoulders. Furthermore, there are few that Baldwin can trust, including the archbishop William of Tyre and Lord Balian d'Ibelin, a charismatic leader who has been one of the few to maintain the peace. But war is coming . . .