"To be deprived of the use of one's limbs is of little help to one in carrying out the work of government ... It is not fitting that a hand so weak as mine should hold power when fear of Arab aggression daily presses upon the Holy City and when my sickness increases the enemy's daring." —From a letter of Baldwin IV to the French King
Baldwin IV was born in 1161. Heir to the politically tumultuous Franco-Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem, he grew up without a mother, as his father's marriage to her was annulled, and political intrigues and contending families and parties surrounded him. Well educated, handsome, and determined, Baldwin had a fatal condition: leprosy. The disease would not stop him, however, from being thrust onto the throne when he was only 13 years old. Throughout his rule, infighting in the royal court and intermural conflicts between competing branches of families continued to plague him, as well as external threats from the powerful Ayubbid dynasty under Saladin the Conqueror, who had surrounded the Frankish kingdoms. In spite of seemingly insurmountable odds, the crusader king kept his quarreling underlings in check, successfully (and quite unexpectedly) defended against Saladin, and mastered his own broken body, wracked by leprosy, which eventually left him blind and bereft of the use of his right arm and legs, all the while remaining in life-long unmarried chastity. This fascinating life, filled with knightly daring, kingly heroism, and a steadfast political savvy, is made all the more remarkable by the fact that Baldwin died at 24, successful in defending the Christian Kingdom of Jerusalem to his last.
TAN is pleased to present this work of fiction solidly grounded in historical reality and full of inspirational guidance, especially for the young, on the path of service to God, even in the most unusual circumstances. Crusader King tells the story of a young man who fought for God and country despite a deadly illness and broken family. Teenagers and avid readers of all ages will be amazed at this story and be inspired by a faith that accomplished the impossible!
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