Another Review at MyShelf.Com

The Brethren Trilogy, book 2

by Robyn Young

      Despite all of its horrors, war can still be a very lucrative endeavor, and the crusades were some of the most lucrative of all. In Robyn Young's latest installment of her action-romance medieval epic, we see how men of industry often use their influence and power to expand their commercial empire, sometimes at the cost of peace.

Book two picks up with the Holy Land controlled nearly entirely by the Mamluks. Sultan Baybars has signed a peace treaty with the Franks, as both sides have grown quite weary of the ceaseless fighting. But the Christian merchants in the Holy Land are beginning to lose money, and many on Baybars' council are eager to toss the Christians out of their land once and for all. Plans are put into action, all with the common goal of war. The delicate peace constructed by the Anima Templi - a small sect within the temple dedicated to peaceful coexistence with other religions - hangs in the balance.

Will Campbell, the heroic Templar knight from the first book, finds his position in the Temple elevating while he endures the tribulations of a secret and forbidden love affair with the beautiful maiden, Elwyn. Will faces the daunting task of thwarting an attempt to steal the sacred Black Stone of Islam, a plan put together by secret enemies, knowing the results would be catastrophic. His peace-seeking cohort in the Mamluk camp, Kalawun, is working diligently to keep Baybars' aggressive tendencies in check while remaining true to his faith and his family. Meanwhile Garin, the once-talented knight turned dispirited and bitter wretch, pursues his own agenda of self-profit and a futile grasp for status. His skill is outweighed only by hauntings from his past and an affinity for wine. The fragile peace manufactured by the secret workings of the Anima Templi and Kalawun is assaulted from all sides, and they know one wrong move would result in war. However, anticipating and evading such a scenario becomes more difficult as the days go by. The Middle East grows restless and the reader finds himself wondering if keeping the peace in such an environment is possible.

Robyn Young's first novel blew me away and ignited a renewed interest in the history of the Middle East shared by Christians, Jews and Muslims. I was interested to see if she was able to repeat that performance in her sequel. I was certainly not disappointed. She is careful to maintain historical accuracy while at the same time bringing her characters to life in a brilliant manner. I was mesmerized by the brutal emotion found in this book, much in the same way I was with the first book. Young takes you by the hand and leads you through the human tragedy of the crusades, giving you a taste of history through the eyes of both Christians and Muslims in a never-before-seen manner. I am more than pleased, and I eagerly anticipate the third installment.

The Book

Dutton / Penguin
August 2007
Historical / Action / Military 1274
More at

The Reviewer

John Washburn
Reviewed 2007
NOTE: Reviewer John Washburn is the author of When Evil Prospers.
© 2006