Thursday, October 23, 2008

One: Crossed - Nicole Galland

In full disclosure, I read this book this summer while touring Scandinavia. I love this author and felt that this book had to be counted in the Cannonball Read challenge.

Venice , 1202. A vengeful minstrel, Briton, attempts to commit suicide after failing to kill an Englishman he was seeking. Gregor of Mainz, a German knight on a religious crusade, takes pity on Briton. Here begins the tale of beliefs, commitment and a desire to serve a higher power.

Crossed details the journeys of Briton, Gregor and an army of crusaders on a mission from the Pope from Venice to Constantinople to Jerusalem. After being "attacked" by Briton, Gregor swears to deliver him to Jerusalem in order to cure the demons that plague Briton's soul.

Gregor is not alone in his crusade and guidance of this minstrel. Briton is prevented from committing suicide by the close watch of Otto, Gregor's brother. While Liliana, Otto's lover, is sent to seduce Briton and learn more about his past.

Along the way Briton, rescues a "princess" from slavery, fools an emperor to give up his throne and starts many battles between the crusading army and the local townsfolk.

The battles that occur are told from the perspective of Gregor as he recounts the events in his journal. Mixed in with the tale are actual quotes from the written chronicles of the knights of the Fourth Crusade.

Not only does this novel provide great insight into the Fourth Crusade but also how religion impacts our daily lives. The conflict between Christian and Christian acts as another character within the plot of the novel. Brilliantly researched, Nicole Gallard provides a unique perspective to the desire and drive of Christian knights to serve the church and conquer new lands.

Galland, Nicole. Crossed: A Tale of the Fourth Crusade. Harper Paperbacks (2008). 622 pages. ISBN 006084180X.

Nicole's books are a quick read and have a good mixture of description and action. I don't mind setting the scene for historical context or plot setup - but I need to have action or I get bored. I read the majority of the book the weekend before I left and on the flight over to Sweden. Once we arrived, I got distracted and ended up giving the book to a fellow choir member to read.

I usually don't let folks borrow books while I'm still reading them - but I had become frustrated with the book - because the plot kept on going in circles. Boy falls in love with girl, girl falls in love with boy but fate intervenes and girl is forced to move on. Boy and girl meet again for a bit - but fate intervenes again. Also - the book got a little complex in trying to retell the multiple changes in power between the crusading Christians and the local townsfolk. Needless to say I was able to finish the book before the tour was over - but the ending was not what I expected.

This book was a nice change in pace for me - since most of the historical fiction I had read before this summer had been focused on Tutor England or medieval Wales.

1 comment:

  1. This sounds really interesting; I'll be adding it to my list.