Men of the Cross

Battle Scars

Fiction - Historical - Personage
355 Pages
Reviewed on 08/16/2014
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

Librarian.
Navy vet.
Mom to 3 grown, amazing children.
I live in Kansas. Yes, Toto. Kansas.
Born & raised in South Carolina, Char wanted a life of adventure and travel. She realized her dreams of hitting the big time with her all-girl rock band Liberation were just that - dreams. And becoming an astronaut wasn't in the cards. So she joined the Navy to see the world and spent six years as a communications technician/voice language analyst. She fit college into her life (BA in History, and many years later an MA in Library Science). That desire to travel in space translated into writing science fiction: she published 10 short stories in the Star Wars Expanded Universe. She has now authored two novels, one a contemporary drama, Keeping the Family Peace; the other, Men of the Cross (book 1 of Battle Scars), which allows her to share her love of history with readers. Book 2 of the series will be published in 2015.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Lex Allen for Readers' Favorite

In Men of the Cross, author Charlene Newcomb opens the Battle Scars series with a resounding, epic novel of love and war. This historical romance novel, set primarily during the Third Crusade led by King Richard the Lionhearted of England in the 12th century, is told through the eyes of Sir Stephan l’Aigle and Sir Henry de Grey. The two knights become acquainted prior to shipping out with King Richard’s army and a close friendship develops. Later, Stephan, an avowed homosexual, falls in love with the inexperienced and religiously dedicated and indoctrinated Henry. With great skill, Ms. Newcomb produces a beautifully written story that adds another layer to this historical romance series. This level of intensity combines and displays all sides of the homosexual issues that began with the Church’s dogma prohibiting love or sex outside of a male/female married relationship, and includes the stigma of the LGBT community that continues to this day.

The love affair and the associated conflict that drives the story are handled exceedingly well; all the more phenomenal because the author is a woman, telling the tale of male to male love. The background is the Third Crusade and here Ms. Newcomb displays amazing skill in mixing historical facts, down to and including the names of people, animals and things that are no longer in our lexicon, with legendary characters. You’ll meet a knight by the name of Robin and two squires befriended by Stephan and Henry whose names are Allan and Little John among others. I was continually amazed at the dexterity with which Ms. Newcomb intertwined all of the facets of this story into a seamless, exceptionally well-written story. Not only do I highly recommend Men of the Cross to all readers of historical fiction and romance novels, I also recommend it to everyone who lives or open-mindedly supports the LGBT lifestyle. I loved this book, and I’m eagerly awaiting the next episode.

Lisa Jones

Men Of The Cross (Battle Scars) by Charlene Newcomb is set in the Middle Ages in the reign of King Richard. The author tells her tale through the eyes of the knights and lays bare the true horrors of war and the needless death of many. There is a clear bond between the knights and protecting their beloved King is both a privilege and an honor. As I read through this wonderful book, I did begin to recognize various characters from the legend of Robin Hood, and this will pave the way for the author's second book which I await with excitement. Knights Henry de Grey and Stephan l'Aigle are two of the main characters throughout the novel. For Henry, this is his first taste of war and he makes a friend in Stephan at an early stage. Their relationship stands firm throughout and Henry seeks to understand his feelings for Stephan.

Charlene Newcomb delivers an eye-opening novel in Men Of The Cross (Battle Scars). The author gave an insight into the diverse characters in this period of history and their way of life. I loved the strong bond between the knights and the love that blossomed between Henry and Stephan. I had never thought of homosexuality in this era, especially between the knights, but who is to say that this was not so. In my opinion, the author is brave and bold to incorporate such notions into her work. I thought that the love they shared was true and very endearing to see, especially in the grip of war. This book made for a delightful read.

Mamta Madhavan

Men of the Cross (Battle Scars) by Charlene Newcomb is a story with a historical theme that will take readers on journey along with two knights during the Third Crusade to the Holy Land in order to free Jerusalem. The story revolves more around the two knights, Henry de Grey and Stephan l'Aigle, with their tale woven into the story of King Richard's crusade. The skills of these two knights are well known. Stephen and Henry befriend Robin Hood and other people in the inner circle of King Richard. The author actually unfolds the story of the Third Crusade through the eyes of these two knights.

I liked the book mainly for the reason that the author has effortlessly woven a historical fiction along with some facts, creating a story of friendship, love and adventure. The theme is serious; it has the Third Crusade as the backdrop. The characters are portrayed with a lot of charm and color and we see the two knights also fighting their personal demons along with the battles of the Third Crusade. The love and care they have for each other also comes through wonderfully as the story progresses.

Lust, love, war and friendship run through the plot, setting the tone for a great series to come. It is a good book to learn more about the history of the time when the Third Crusade took place. The author has captured the physical and emotional journey of the two knights beautifully to make this book an adventurous novel.