Summary and book reviews of Warriors of God by James Reston Jr.

Warriors of God

Richard the Lionheart and Saladin in the Third Crusade

by James Reston Jr.

Warriors of God by James Reston Jr. X
Warriors of God by James Reston Jr.
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Apr 2001, 240 pages
    Paperback:
    May 2002, 400 pages

    Genres

  • Rate this book


Buy This Book

About this Book

Book Summary

Sweeping readers into a mesmerizing period of history, Warriors of God is a provocative look at two towering leaders and the not always noble causes for which they fought.

The epic story of the battle for the Holy Land and the two larger-than-life figures at its center.

James Reston, Jr., the author of Galileo: A Life (called "masterful" and "brilliant" by the Washington Post) and the critically lauded The Last Apocalypse, a stunningly original portrait of the Christian world at the turn of first millennium, now re-creates the collision of the Christian holy wars and the Muslim jihad at the end of the twelfth century. A dual biography of the legendary Richard the Lionheart and the Sultan Saladin, iconic hero of the Islamic world, Warriors of God recounts the life of each man and reveals the passions of the times that brought them face-to-face in the final battle of the Third Crusade.

Richard the Lionheart, commonly depicted as the romantic personification of chivalry, here emerges in his full complexity and contradictions as Reston examines the dark side of Richard's role as the leader of the blood-soaked Crusades and breaks new ground by openly discussing Richard's homosexuality. Reston's compelling portrait of Saladin brings to life the wise, highly cultured leader who realized an enduring Arab dream by uniting Egypt and Syria and whose conquest of Jerusalem not only sparked the Third Crusade but ignited the first jihad and turned Saladin into a hero of epic proportions. In riveting descriptions, Reston captures the fascinating clash of the two armies as they battled their way to the outskirts of Jerusalem. There, Saladin's brilliant maneuvers and Richard's sudden failure of nerve turned the tide. Sweeping readers into a mesmerizing period of history, Warriors of God is a provocative look at two towering leaders and the not always noble causes for which they fought.

Chapter One
A Sultan Is Born

Early in the twelfth century, in the city of Tovin in northern Armenia close to Georgia, there lived an eminent family of Kurds, the master of whose house was surnamed Najm ad-Din, which meant "excellent prince and star of religion." Najm ad-Din had a boon comrade named Bihruz, a man of intelligence and charm, qualities matched only by his bent for trouble. Bihruz had the misfortune to be discovered in a compromising position with the wife of the local emir, who promptly had Bihruz seized and castrated and banished from his fief.

After this humiliation Najm ad-Din decided to accompany his disgraced friend to Baghdad, the seat of the Abbasid caliphate, where the Caliph, Al Muqtafi li-amri'llah ("he who follows the orders of God"), reigned supreme over the Muslim world of the eastern Mediterranean. In Baghdad the Sultan of Iraq noticed their talents. Since eunuchs were then favored as teachers and administrators, Bihruz became the tutor of the Sultan's...

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $12 for 3 months or $39 for a year.
  • More about membership!

Reviews

Media Reviews

Booklist
Celebrated primarily as the romanticized figure in the legend of Robin Hood, Richard the Lionheart was indeed a flesh-and-blood ruler who led an army of crusaders against Sultan Saladin at the end of the twelfth century. In this superb dual biography, both Richard and Saladin are presented as complex, multidimensional leaders.... A vivid historical reassessment of the major players in the Third Crusade.

Library Journal
[O]ffers the reader a captivating story in a lucid and often humorous style. Warriors of God is a fine example of narrative history and belongs in both academic and public libraries.

Publishers Weekly
The interweaving of Islamic perspectives with those of Christians is especially valuable. This frankly accessible work may capture the imagination of those who have thus far resisted the pull of crusade history, presenting, as it does, both the extraordinary and less well known participants for whom this peculiar drama was the stuff of everyday life.

Reader Reviews

imad

Excellent book. Required reading for these tense times. From an historical point of view extremely provocative and challenging.Very good narration and first class erudition. Refreshing open mindedness ( a lesson for some of the bigots that have ...   Read More

Joseph L. Moore

Well written and engaging.

Abe Arkeen

James Reston, Jr. makes the paramount event of the Middle Ages, the Crusades, come alive in "Warriors of God." He combines fascinating exerpts from Arab and Christian chroniclers, and weaves a tale worthy of the principals involved: ...   Read More

Anonymous

A well written novel of the Third Crusade. Author is accurate (according to history), but hard to keep reader's attention.

Write your own review!

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $12 for 3 months or $39 for a year.
  • More about membership!

Readalikes

Readalikes Full readalike results are for members only

If you liked Warriors of God, try these:

  • The Land Beyond the Sea jacket

    The Land Beyond the Sea

    by Sharon Kay Penman

    Published 2021

    About this book

    More books by this author

    From the critically acclaimed New York Times bestselling author Sharon Kay Penman comes the story of the reign of King Baldwin IV and the Kingdom of Jerusalem's defense against Saladin's famous army.

  • God's Shadow jacket

    God's Shadow

    by Alan Mikhail

    Published 2020

    About this book

    An explosive global history that redefines the historical origins of the modern world through the life of Sultan Selim I and his Ottoman Empire.

Non-members are limited to two results. Become a member
Search Readalikes again
How we choose readalikes
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $12 for 3 months or $39 for a year.
  • More about membership!

Support BookBrowse

Become a Member and discover books that entertain, engage & enlighten.

Join Now!


Today's Top Picks

  • Book Jacket: Memorial Drive
    Memorial Drive
    by Natasha Trethewey
    On June 5, 1985, Natasha Trethewey's mother, Gwendolyn Turnbough, was murdered by her ex-husband, ...
  • Book Jacket: All the Devils Are Here
    All the Devils Are Here
    by Louise Penny
    In Louise Penny's All the Devils Are Here, the 16th book in the Chief Inspector Armand Gamache ...
  • Book Jacket: A Girl is A Body of Water
    A Girl is A Body of Water
    by Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi
    First Impressions readers were fascinated by A Girl Is a Body of Water, a riveting and nuanced novel...
  • Book Jacket
    Heaven, My Home
    by Attica Locke
    Attica Locke's 2017 novel Bluebird, Bluebird introduced us to Texas Ranger Darren Mathews, who ...

Readers Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    Piranesi
    by Susanna Clarke

    A new novel from the NY Times bestselling author of Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell.
    Reader Reviews

Book Club Discussion
Book Jacket
The Shadow King
by Maaza Mengiste

An unforgettable epic shortlisted for the 2020 Booker Prize, and named a best book of the year by the New York Times.

About the book
Join the discussion!
Win this book!
Win Memorial Drive

Memorial Drive
by Natasha Trethewey

The moving, intimate story of a poet coming into her own in the wake of tragedy.

Enter


Wordplay

Solve this clue:

L N Take I C

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends the best in contemporary fiction and nonfiction—books that not only engage and entertain but also deepen our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.