A Tale of the Crusades by H. Rider

The Brethren, A tale of the Crusades written by H. Rider is based on the time period of the Crusades. The author focuses mainly on the time period surrounding the Battle Of Hattin in the year 1187. This battle took place prior to the spark of the Third Crusade, which often referred to as the Kings Crusades.

The main characters of the Brethren are, Saladin, Commander of the Faithful who is Rosamund uncle. Rosamund is Saladin sister daughter from her marriage to a Christian Knight Sir Andrew D’Arcy. Also in story are the twin brothers, Wulf and Godwin who are Rosemund cousins and our knights. The story starts on the sea wall in Essex where Rosemund is with her cousin Godwin and Wulf far the reach of her Uncle Saladin.

Saladin dreams about his niece Rosamund who is in England on numerous occasions and is determined to have her return to him to his own royal house. Saladin hires a fake Knight Lozelle to attempt to capture Rosamund had even directed the Knight to bring Rosamund back to him no matter what. Rosamund had known Knight Lozelle from their hometown, Lozelle had once asked for her hand in marriage, but Rosamund had rejected him. Knight Lozelle attempted fail when Godwin and Wulf identified the Knight Lozelle. A fight broke out and Rosamund jumped into the water with her horse and manage to escape capture.

After this failed attempt Rosamund and her two cousins return to Sir Andrew D’Arcy house, Rosamund father. Both Godwin and Wulf are deeply in love with Rosamund, they had previous put there love aside to help save her from captivity of her uncle. Wulf had stated “come, Godwin, let us make a pact that is shall not be thus, and keep it by the help of heaven. Let us show the world that two men can love one women and still love each other, not knowing as yet which of them she will choose-if indeed, she choose either. For, Godwin, we are not lonely gentlemen whose eyes have turned, or yet may turn, towards the high-born, rich and lovely lady Rosamund.

It is your will that we should make such a pact.” (Page 33) this example of love is so rare between two brothers; with out there devotion to each other, one would have thought loving the same women would have driven them apart. Both Wulf and Godwin declare their love for Rosamund in the presence of Sir Andrew D’Arcy. Sir Andrew D’Arcy responds with laughter saying, “of all the strange things I have known, this is the strangest, that two knights should ask one wife between them.” (Page 37) Unfortunately for the brothers, Rosamund turns down their marriage proposal several times.

Through out the book you can see the conflict of the crusades between the Christian and the Muslims faith. But the underline them is the dedication of Wulf and Godwin’s love to each other and their strong faith. Through out war of the Crusades their faith in God and ach other never waivered. Eventually the story take you to the fight over the holy city of Jerusalem, which is occupied by the Muslims At the end of the Story Wulf and Godwin, are together.

Wulf has finally been untied to his love of his life Rosamund. Rosamund concerned about Godwin feelings ask “and you Godwin” Godwin replies, “I, Rosamund have also found my bride, and she is named the Church of Christ. My calling now is to pull down the strong holds of Satan by forsaking worldly ambitions and office so that I might comfort the poor and needy, having fought the good fight as a knight, I now turn my heart to the greater battle in the spiritual realm that will ultimately conquer the hearts of men in ways that are beyond the reach of the sword.” (Page 346).

My overall opinion of The Brethren is positive, while some of the story was slow to develop; I found that that the conflict of the crusades continues in this century. We can still see this conflict between Christianity and the Muslim world, especially in the form of radical Islam beliefs. I feel that Godwin’s closing remarks in reference to the on going spiritual battle is true in our current times.

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