Book Review · Historical Fiction · OnlineBookClub

Defender of Jerusalem by Helena P. Schrader

A Biographical Novel of Balian d’Ibelin

Genre: Historical Fiction
Number of Pages: 606
Publication Date: July 17, 2015

Rating: 5-star-review out of 5
OBC Rating: 4 out of 4 stars
To Learn More About the Book, Click: Defender of Jerusalem on OBC Bookshelves

*This was part of the Book of the Day Program*

downloadJerusalem is under siege and Salah ad-Din will stop at nothing to gain Jerusalem for his Muslim followers. King Baldwin (a.k.a. the Leper King) tries his hardest to hold back Salah ad-Din, but his leprosy isn’t improving and he is getting weaker by the day. It is up to Balian d’Ibelin to save the Kingdom of Jerusalem, but when the other side has triple the amount of men, will he be able to?


This read was amazing and was extremely hard to put down. The characters were vividly drawn that, as the reader, I sympathized and was rooting for Balian the entire length of the read. My favorite characters were Balian; his strong-willed wife, Maria Zoe; their confident daughter, Isabella; and, of course, the kind and righteous leper king himself, King Baldwin IV.

The Crusades was a time in history that I knew little about until I started reading this book. I have obviously heard of them, but this is the first time that I dived into some of its history. Learning and finding myself doing some research made me appreciate Defender of Jerusalem even more so.

Though this is the second book in a three-part biographical novel about Balian d’Ibelin, I did not feel lost or confused.and was able to jump right in.

To be honest, I was worried that there would be an infinite amount of battles and fight scenes that I would find myself wanting to skip ahead. However, this was not the case at all. There were fighting scenes, but the story was layered with so much more and was very balanced.

Even though the author admits that there isn’t much information about Balian’s personal life, I loved those scenes. It filled the story with such realism that it was easy to relate to the troubles of having loved ones during a time of siege (their lives are in danger).

There were a few minor characters that I’ll be likely to forget, but this is such a minor issue in the representation of the book that I won’t count it against my rating. I will advise those interested that it is a lengthy book, roughly 600 pages. For me, the pages flew by and I enjoyed every minute of it, but for some it might be a bit much.

Overall, I am happy to have read this book and this is definitely an author to watch out for!

Absolutely! To those who would to learn about the Crusades and how one man will stop at nothing save the Kingdom of Jerusalem.

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