• Robert The Wayward Prince – Book Two

Warrior of the Cross

In the year 1095, Pope Urban II gave an oration in the town of Clermont in France that would change the history of the Western World forever. He spoke of the plight of the holy city of Jerusalem, where Christians were suffering under the weight of Islamic rule, and beseeched those who would, and could, to go and liberate them.

To add to his plea he promised the gift of eternal life to all those who travelled with the Christian soldiers, or helped them in any way: the prize of eternal life, through forgiveness of their sins.

The result was an overwhelming, if uncoordinated scramble, with wealthy kings, princes, bishops and lords declaring their support for the venture. They were joined, without invitation, by the common folk of Europe, who sought possibly their only hope of salvation by making the journey ‘to help’.

By the end of 1097 the first of the travellers reached Constantinople. Here they expected to receive the help promised by the Byzantine Emperor Alexios Komnenos, to cross the Bosporus, enter Asia and be on their way to Jerusalem.

In Warrior of the Cross we hear the narrative of a man who led his own army southwards from Normandy; the story of Robert, Duke of Normandy, with his experiences told in his own words.

Bloody mayhem ensued in this clash of cultures; a no-mercy confrontation between faiths set amid a background of scheming, land-grabbing and the naked ambition of the Christian warlords, matched only by the unremitting cruelty and bigotry of those church leaders present.

Rising above that, Robert appears as a moral and effective leader, often at odds with his senior companions, and far better prepared for the undertaking with resources and strategy they’d never conceived of. Planning, implementation, accomplishment on the battlefield and astonishing bravery raise this man above his contemporaries at every juncture.

And between the fighting and the scheming, Robert is always ready to receive the attention of a lady, and has many a romance along the way – as one has come to expect in the turbulent life of Robert of Normandy.

Book One is available now from Amazon on Kindle – Click here to purchase.

The Making of an Empire
Warrior of the Cross
The Making of an Empire

So you fancy a trip to Jerusalem?

In the 11th century many did, on the promise of eternal life.

They set off on horseback and foot along what became well-worn trails, many never returned, some found fame and fortune, others are dust along the road.

The church of the Holy Wisdom (Hagia Sophia) or Sancta Sophia in Latin.

The Imperial Harbour on the Bosporos.

Beyond Constantinople.

The Hun (Turkish) tribesmen, long used to fighting on the open plains of Asia, developed a hit and run type of warfare, and ideally would surround an enemy and ‘ride rings around him,’ shooting arrows into the huddle, until they were destroyed. They had not faced the direct confrontational challenge that the Norman cavalry could offer.

Their arrows are quite light but left the curved bow with terrific speed, giving tremendous powers of penetration, but rapidly lost energy over distance which diminished their effect against armour.

A collection of arrows and arrow heads from the Turkish Military Museum in Istanbul. Used against various targets, the broad heads, for instance, are for cutting through flesh, as against horses.

The advancing army’s first target was the city of Nicaea, not a confrontation in the open but the occasion for a siege.

As was often the case this siege was ended through subterfuge and treachery, the besiegers being let in through the back door.

The first clash of the cavalry came when they came across this man. Kilji Arslan.

Portrait in the Turkish Military Museum, Istanbul.

The place known as Dorylaeum was where the Turks first met the Norman cavalry head-on.

A bloody affair which set the tone for the rest of the campaign.

Next, a year long siege at Antioch.

Another success through treachery – although not for long.

When the cavalry are deployed.

The advancing army’s first target was the city of Nicaea, not a confrontation in the open but the occasion for a siege.

As was often the case this siege was ended through subterfuge and treachery, the besiegers being let in through the back door.