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Reviewed by Ray Simmons for Readers' Favorite
If you like good historical fiction in the old-fashioned swords clashing tradition, there are not many writers in the same league as Helena P. Schrader. I have read several of her books before and she is consistently both a good historian and a great writer. With this book, The Last Crusader Kingdom: Dawn of a Dynasty in Twelfth-Century Cyprus, I am officially a fan. Helena writes history exactly the way I like it. The research is solid. The depiction of everyday life is realistic. She fills in the gaps in the historical record with plausible, exciting, realistic scenes of what might have happened. I think that is the best a writer can do. She gets the history correct, then fills in what isn’t there, like a true artist.
I love the characters in The Last Crusader Kingdom. They are portrayed very well. We see good sides and bad ones. Many of these characters are like old friends to me because I first encountered them in Helena P. Schrader’s Jerusalem books. To be honest, this is one reason I follow good writers sometimes, to see the characters at different times in their lives, and to see how the next generation resembles their family. The plot is tight in this book. The plot is history itself. The themes are history, family, and dynasty. The writing is great, especially action sequences. Helena P. Schrader writes military encounters like a combat veteran. That is the highest praise I can give her or any writer when it comes to writing war. Another great book from a great historical writer.