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1st Chapter







Siege of Heaven

August, 1098. After countless battles and sieges, the surviving soldiers of the first crusade are at last within reach of their ultimate goal: Jerusalem. But rivalries fester, and while the crusaders delay new enemies are massing against them in the Holy Land.

Demetrios Askiates has had enough of the crusade’s violence and hypocrisy - he longs to return home. But when a routine diplomatic mission leads to a deadly ambush, he realises he has been snared in the vast power struggles which underlie the crusade. The only way out now leads through the Holy City.

From the plague-bound city of Antioch to the heart of Muslim Egypt, across mountains, seas and deserts, Demetrios must accompany the army of warlords and fanatics to the very gates of Jerusalem. Where, as the lethal end-game plays out, the crusade climaxes in an apocalypse of pillage, bloodshed and slaughter.

Siege of Heaven concludes the trilogy of Demetrios Askiates and the First Crusade. Whereas there's a gap of almost a year between Mosaic and Knights, Siege follows almost immediately from the end of Knights and carries on to crusade's climax at Jerusalem eleven months later. Although it works very much as a straight sequel to Knights, it brings back several characters from Mosaic and offers new perspectives on the events in Constantinople.

If Knights of the Cross was conceived as a novel about doubt - about what happens when extreme faith finds itself run into the ground - Siege of Heaven explores the flip side of the coin: what happens when extreme faith achieves its ultimate goals? As the synopsis above suggests, it's not a pretty picture.