"The year 1169 dawned upon a quiet East. Along this frontier of Christianity, nothing unusual was taking place. Nothing ominous, that is. And in that part of the East known as the Holy Land, the crusaders went about their affairs without misgivings."
So opens Harold Lamb's magnificent history. However, out of the chaos of Muslim tribal warfare and regional animosity arose a military genius such as Islam had never known: Saladin. Uniting the sultanates of Cairo and Damascus, Saladin created a single powerful state. Luring the crusaders into an ill-considered confrontation, he destroyed their army at the Battle of Hattin in 1187, leaving the few remaining crusaders clinging perilously to a series of towns and forts along the Levantine coast. Into this desperate situation stepped the most formidable warrior of the age, Richard the Lion-Hearted. Hear the incredible tales of valor and futility as King Richard attempts to retake Jerusalem. And after him, many other kings would come forward....
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An absolute Joy to read