Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Review: Crusade - John Wilson

Synopsis: "Kill them all. God will know His own."

This was what the crusading knights of the Catholic Church were told as they stormed the walls of the heretic city of Beziers in 1209. Ten thousand people died that day - the first casualties of the only crusade fought on French soil.

Caught up in the horror are two childhood friends. Peter - an assistant to the mysterious priest who leads the crusade - is convinced that the war against the Cathars is God's will, a mission that will lead him to the highest ranks of power in Rome itself. John is far less certain about the Church's goals, and his doubts deepen when an intriguing Cathar woman helps him escape the burning city. As the pair travel together to a safe haven, John listens and learns and is soon embroiled in a dangerous mystery. As the brutal war against the Cathars expands and the flames of the Inquisition spread, Peter and John find themselves on opposite sides of the search for a secret that has the power to change the world.

Review: Crusade was certainly interesting, and the writing is good. John is easily liked, but the introduction to him and Peter feels like the Reader is dropped right in the middle of things, making Peter seem nothing but hard and completely unfeeling. I had a hard time feeling any connection to him; if the Author wanted the Reader to understand John's disappointment at Peter's new solemnness, he ought to have began the story a little earlier in their lives, so the Reader could see some of the change in Peter's character. As it is, it seems that Peter has always been like that.

The story also seems to be pretty one-sided. It portrays the Catholics as being nothing but horrible, while the Cathars are completely peaceful. After reading The Perfect Fire Trilogy, which presents a very balanced view of both religions (showing the good and bad of both), this did nothing but irritate me, and I had a hard time enjoying the story because of it. I hope that the Author doesn't do this in the second installment.

Overall Rating: KK

Others in The Heretic's Secret Series:

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