Lion of the Cross

Lion of the Cross

Tales of a Templar Knight

Fiction - Historical - Event/Era
372 Pages
Reviewed on 07/12/2015
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

T.M. Carter is an author and an avid historian, a member of the Historical Novel Society and a member of the California Writers Club of Long Beach. He lives in Southern California with his wife and two children. T.M. Carter also has two short stories available exclusively on Amazon.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Faridah Nassozi for Readers' Favorite

Born to the Sultan's concubine, Wasim ibn Baibars al-Bunduqdari was considered a lesser person, a bastard, and as such had really never been acknowledged by his father. He was, however, close to his older brother Barakah, who was destined to be the next ruler of the kingdom. The only hope Wasim's future held was to be a bodyguard to his brother Barakah, and as such he was introduced to and vigorously trained in the art of battle at a very young age; an art he skilfully mastered. Wasim's ultimate dream was to use these skills to exact revenge on those whose cruel hands had snatched his mother from her land and placed her in this shameful position. After their father's sudden death, Barakah became the Sultan as planned, but his stay in power was short-lived after his wife betrayed him and former enemies of his father overthrew him. Wasim was then forced to flee his land, leaving behind the life he knew and the two people dearest him - his mother and his brother. From the land of Islam to the land of Christianity and beyond, Wasim, now William, embarks on a new journey; and what a journey!

Lion of the Cross - Tales of a Templar Knight by T.M. Carter is a deeply engrossing tale and a thrilling read. It is an amazing historical tale that will take you across borders and beyond as you follow the amazing life story of William de Scotia, a man born and raised between the two religious worlds, each as fierce and unforgiving as the other. The story will transport you back years to a complex time in history. T.M. Carter brought the story to life with vivid and detailed scenes capable of completely drawing the reader in. At times I felt the book trod a very thin religious line, but T.M. Carter skilfully knew just how far to push it and then rein it in. At the end of the novel, all I could think about was how much things have changed since William told his story, and yet at the same time it felt like not that much has changed really.

Cheryl E. Rodriguez

TM Carter portrays both sides of the never-ending conflict between Christendom and Islam in The Lion of the Cross - Tales of a Templar Knight. As Sir William’s friends set sail for home, William puts pen to parchment to chronicle the deeds of his Templar Order. Since he was not born a Templar, William starts his memoir from the beginning. William de Scotia or Wisim was born between two faiths: Islam and Christianity. On a voyage from Scotland, William’s mother is captured by a ruthless green-eyed slaver. She is sold and becomes a concubine in the harem of the Sultan of Egypt. The Sultan is Wisim’s father. Keeping true to her faith and heritage, his mother secretly names him after his great-grandfather, William the Lion – King of the Scots. At the request of his older beloved half-brother, Wisim is trained in the art of war. As he grows and matures, his physical training and education advance. He becomes skilled in weaponry, as well as fluent in several languages. Wisim welcomes the honor of guarding his brother, but even more, he dreams of taking vengeance on the green-eyed slaver, Nicolo. The Sultan is killed, and his brother abdicates the throne. These tragic events change the course of Wisim’s life. Now fueled by revenge, William overshadows Wisim, and he finds himself divided in loyalty to the life and ways of Islam or the devout brotherhood of the Order.

The Lion of the Cross - Tales of a Templar Knight is the first book in the epic saga of Sir William de Scotia. TM Carter proves his knowledge of Templar history, penning a story full of historical information. Carter even includes an extensive appendix of historical figures mentioned in the narrative. Along with the accuracy of the history, he reveals his knowledge of scripture, Latin and Islamic terms, and sayings of the Qur’an. Furthermore, his writing style is eloquent, full of old and formal English appropriate for the time period. The descriptions are figurative, full of vivid and metaphorical detail. As in all historical fiction, chronicling events is necessary, but occasionally can hinder the flow, making the story somewhat dry at times. However, Carter manages to insert action scenes when the story seems to bog down. The protagonist grows and develops; his character faces an internal tug of war. As a reader, you’re not certain where his loyalty lies at times, making him an intriguing character. Carter did an excellent job of portraying both sides of the tumultuous crusades, reminding the reader that evil lurks on both sides of the battlefield. Not all knights are brave and chivalrous; not all holy men are holy; not all merchants are honest, and not all Muslims are radical extremists.

Emily-Jane Hills Orford

Sir William is a Templar Knight. Before that, he was Wasim ibn Baibars al-Bunduqdari, the son of Baibars, Sultan of Egypt. Wasim's mother was an infidel slave, herself of noble Christian birth. As a young boy, Wasim trained to be a good soldier, to be the bodyguard of his older brother, Barakah, who believed that he would grow up to replace their father as Sultan. The boys grew up, but things changed and Barakah lost his bid to be Sultan. Wasim was forced to flee for his life and, in his escape, leave behind all that he loved; his mother, and all that was familiar to him. He trained to become a Templar Knight and, as such, accepted the Christian faith, but for the remainder of his life, Wasim now called William, would be torn between his Muslim upbringing and his adopted Christianity. As he struggles with his conflicting beliefs and his desire to right the many wrongs addressed to him, his mother, to all those he loves and to the world at large, Wasim confronts many evils with cunning and a strong desire for revenge.

Author T.M. Carter has written this novel, which is the first in a series, in the form of a memoir. Sir William, or Wasim, is telling his story, starting in the present day when the Templar Knight is old and retired, and going back to his life as a child and the events that led up to his escape from Egypt and into his life as a Templar Knight. As a memoir, this story reads well, in addition to being a good historical-fiction tale of a Templar Knight.