An Author’s Inspiration
By Richard Foreman
Whilst writing Siege, I was fortunate enough to speak to a number of historians who were experts in the First Crusade. One of their unifying comments on the subject was that the participants were genuinely motivated by faith. They were true believers. Christians. Even before hearing their arguments however I was already mindful of not being overly satirical or cynical in matters relating to faith and Christianity. I didn’t want to sound like a sneering, evangelical atheist, lecturing or hectoring readers.
|"Taking of Jerusalem by the Crusaders, 15th July 1099" : Wikipedia.|
The First Crusade is full complexities and contradictions. There are more questions than answers. How could these devout Christians also be brutal warriors, capable of murder, rape and theft? As much as the First Crusade was an endeavour intended to liberate Jerusalem and provide peace and security, the Army of Gold ultimately became a force which served the interests of conquest and colonisation. Jerusalem was awash with blood, rather than freedom, after its capture. Although Siege is a novel, one which entertains over any brief to educate, it does hopefully address some of these issues and questions. They are, in some ways, issues and questions which remain relevant. Soldiers and terrorists today, after all, will seek to justify their actions as being committed in the name of God. Sins can be forgiven - and devotees can be rewarded with a place in Heaven. Both at the original call for the armed pilgrimage, by Pope Urban II at Clermont, and during the assault of Antioch, the Christians let out the same chant: “God wills it.” The Muslim forces employed similar cries.
|Pope Urban II at the Council of Clermont. Illustration from Sébastien Mamerot's Livre des Passages d'Outre-mer : Wikipedia.|
Miracles, visions and the belief in holy relics were commonplace during the era of the First Crusade. Indeed, without the “discovery” of the Holy Lance at the Church of St Peter in Antioch, the story of the crusades – and the history of the world - could have been quite different. Faith was more prevalent than scepticism in the period. It can be argued that the likes of Pope Urban II, Peter the Hermit and Raymond of Toulouse took advantage of the zealotry of Christians. However, though we may be sceptical in relation to the intentions of crusaders such as Bohemond of Taranto and Godfrey of Bouillon, there is no doubting their courage and military prowess. The story of the First Crusade has partly endured because it was a remarkable feat of arms, as dramatic as Rorke’s Drift or Agincourt. War and religion may seem like unlikely bedfellows, but history suggests otherwise.
|Bohemond and his Norman troops scale the walls of Antioch, in an engraving by Gustave Doré: Wikipedia.|
By Richard Foreman
The crusader army still stands outside Antioch. Starving. Deserting.
An enemy force, led by Kerbogha of Mosul, is days away from relieving the walled city.
Bohemond of Taranto calls upon the English knight, Edward Kemp, to meet with an agent, who is willing to provide the Norman prince with access to Antioch.
But Bohemond is not alone in wishing to capture and lay claim to the prize. Edward must contend with enemies in his own camp.
Should the knight's mission fail, then so may the entire campaign.
Antioch must fall.
Recommended for fans of Bernard Cornwell, Michael Jecks and Conn Iggulden.
'The scenes of battle and clash of cultures are brilliantly depicted.' Jemahl Evans, author of Becket: Warrior
Siege is the first book in a new series, set during the First Crusade, by bestselling historical novelist Richard Foreman.
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Richard Foreman is a bestselling historical novelist. He is the author of multiple series set in Ancient Rome, including Sword of Rome, Sword of Empire, Spies of Rome and the Augustus saga. He has also written books set in the medieval period, Band of Brothers, and WW2 – Warsaw and A Hero of Our Time. His books have regularly broken through into the top 100 of Amazon and have been widely praised. His new book is Siege, the first in a series of novels set during the First Crusade.
For many years Richard worked as a publicist and literary consultant for numerous bestselling authors, including Simon Sebag-Montefiore, Kate Williams and William Dalrymple. During his time as a publicist Richard founded the London History Festival. He has also served as a judge for the HWA Crowns.
Richard is the CEO of Sharpe Books, one of the leading UK independent publishers. Sharpe Books specialises in publishing crime/thrillers, historical fiction and history books. Authors on their list include Michael Jecks, Sarah Gristwood, Saul David and Peter Tonkin. As well as publishing established writers, Sharpe Books accepts submissions from new authors too. Please see sharpebooks.com should you wish to get in touch and see their submission requirements.
Praise for Richard Foreman's Books
Spies of Rome
"A masterful and evocative depiction of a fledgling imperial Rome fraught with intrigue and at war with itself. The story and characters are as striking as the graffiti that adorns the violent city’s walls during Augustus' rise."
Steven Veerapen, author of The Abbey Close.
"An arresting opening that leads into a thoroughly gripping story. Impressive research and understanding of the period allows Richard Foreman to move so seamlessly and effectively from historical epic to historical detective thriller. A must read for fans of Steven Saylor."
Peter Tonkin, author of The Ides.
Augustus: Son of Rome
Saul David, Author of the Zulu Hart series.
The Complete Innings
‘Classy, humorous and surprisingly touching tales of cricket, friendship and crime.’
David Blackburn, The Spectator.
Band of Brothers:
The Complete Campaigns
'Escapism at its best... A great read that tells much about the style of war and how the individuals fought.'
'A rattling good yarn, requiring only the minimum of suspension of belief, and leaves one eagerly anticipating the next instalment of the adventures of the team as they accompany the King to Harfleur.'
Major Gordon Corrigan, author of A Great and Glorious Adventure: A Military History of the Hundred Years War.
"Warsaw is a work of power. It has the authentic feeling that pulses from an important book. The meticulous research and psychological insights light up one of the most ghastly episodes in the history of man's inhumanity to man."
Patrick Bishop, author of Fighter Boys and A Good War.