Crusader King: A Novel of Baldwin IV and the Crusades

(2 reviews) Write a Review

"To be deprived of the use of one's limbs is of little help to one in carrying out the work of government ... It is not fitting that a hand so weak as mine should hold power when fear of Arab aggression daily presses upon the Holy City and when my sickness increases the enemy's daring." —From a letter of Baldwin IV to the French King

Baldwin IV was born in 1161. Heir to the politically tumultuous Franco-Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem, he grew up without a mother, as his father's marriage to her was annulled, and political intrigues and contending families and parties surrounded him. Well educated, handsome, and determined, Baldwin had a fatal condition: leprosy. The disease would not stop him, however, from being thrust onto the throne when he was only 13 years old. Throughout his rule, infighting in the royal court and intermural conflicts between competing branches of families continued to plague him, as well as external threats from the powerful Ayubbid dynasty under Saladin the Conqueror, who had surrounded the Frankish kingdoms. In spite of seemingly insurmountable odds, the crusader king kept his quarreling underlings in check, successfully (and quite unexpectedly) defended against Saladin, and mastered his own broken body, wracked by leprosy, which eventually left him blind and bereft of the use of his right arm and legs, all the while remaining in life-long unmarried chastity. This fascinating life, filled with knightly daring, kingly heroism, and a steadfast political savvy, is made all the more remarkable by the fact that Baldwin died at 24, successful in defending the Christian Kingdom of Jerusalem to his last.

TAN is pleased to present this work of fiction solidly grounded in historical reality and full of inspirational guidance, especially for the young, on the path of service to God, even in the most unusual circumstances. Crusader King tells the story of a young man who fought for God and country despite a deadly illness and broken family. Teenagers and avid readers of all ages will be amazed at this story and be inspired by a faith that accomplished the impossible!

Susan Peek
TAN Books
Publication Date:
Product Format:

2 Reviews

  • 5
    Excellent read.

    Posted by Steven McEvoy on Dec 26th 2023

    This was the third book I have read by Susan Peek over the last few months. I have been greatly impressed by them all. I loved Saint Magnus The Last Viking, and found it very well written. And her handling of mental illness and especially PTSD in The King's Prey: Saint Dymphna of Ireland was incredible. But this book was incredible. I could barely put it down. I devoured it in two sittings on the same day. And I must admit I went to bed much later than I should have for my alarm goes off at 5am to get up and ready for work. There was not a lot of sleep the night I finished this book! I found it hard to categorize this book. It is historical fiction. So I count it as a fiction book. But so much actual history is woven into this book and it is so masterfully written I wish I could just call it history. This is the story of the “unusual life of King Baldwin IV of Jerusalem, the leper crusader king who - despite ascending to the throne at only 13, his early death at 24 and his debilitating disease - performed great and heroic deeds in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds.” It is the story of faith, a story of friendship, and a story of how Christianity loses its way when corruption spreads within its ranks. From my university church history courses I was familiar with the basics of this story. But most of all it is the story of a man who sought to do God’s will no matter the personal cost and no matter the odds. For Baldwin IV obedience, trust, faith, and courage were the hallmarks of his life and his reign. This book is published as teen fiction, but I know many adults who would love to read this book. The facts in this story will remind us that with faith and obedience we can accomplish the impossible. As mentioned this book is very very well written. I average over 100 books a year and this was one of the best historical fiction books I have ever read. It is right up there with Jack Whyte’s Sky Stone series a retelling of King Arthur, and Taylor R. Marshall’s Sword and the Serpent a retelling of Saint George’s life. This is masterful writing and any fan of history, historical fiction or even just great fiction reads will love this book. My only concern is that there are not a lot of Peek’s books left for me to read, I can only hope she publishes more for us to read soon.

  • 5
    Easy read

    Posted by Trever on May 24th 2023

    This book is an easy read and filled with history and piety. I greatly appreciated something lighter to keep my brain from getting overloaded with reading daily. The characters are written in such a way to make you feel a closeness...I look foward to more of this variety.