Brethren is the first of a trilogy of books from Robyn Young following a young Templar Knight during the crusades. Brethren follows our knight, Will Campbell, growing up to be a knight and sent from London to France and eventually off to the burning heat of the middle east. Campbell is soon to learn about a secret group within the Templar Knights that are striving to keep the peace instead of stir up trouble and push the crusades ahead against the powerful Baybars. The first book sees Campbell introduced to the main players as well as being haunted by his father’s death and wanting to find his killers and take revenge upon those responsible. Even if this means planning an attack on Sultan Baybars life. Crusade picks up where Brethren left off with Campbell being promoted to Commander within the Temple with a new Grand Master running the Templar Knights. The Grand Master wishes to steal the black stone from Meca to start a war between the Muslims and Christians so that they can secure funding from the Pope and the King of England (Edward) to start a Crusade and reclaim the holy lands. Campbell, working with the secret group within the Temple, must try to put a stop to this but with the Temple Grand Master and even the King of England’s ruthless man Garin along with the threat of Sultan Baybars shadowing over the Christian cities will he manage keep alive let alone keep the peace? Robyn Young manages to bring to life the time of the Crusades.
The characters are well rounded and you are drawn into their lives and loves. Following the efforts to keep the peace within the Temple as well as with the Mamluks. With life in the times hard and with the competing Temples and religions wanting hold upon the holy cities Young manages to get you involved in the times. Each chapter flows well and they are always preceded by the date as the action can jump forward sometimes a few months others years at a time. Well people can’t just jump on a plane or in a car to get somewhere and it’d be a rather thick book if it was padded out with three months spent on the boats from France to the Middle East. I look forward to the final book of the trilogy. I suppose knowing some of the history of the era helps but is not required. This would suit fans of Conn Iggulden and Bernard Cromwell. Well written and does not drag.