Taking the Cross is a historical novel by Charles Gibson about the little-known crusade launched by the Roman Catholic Church against fellow Christians in France, a time of great religious turmoil and conflict.
In the Middle Ages not all crusades were fought in the Holy Land. A two-pronged threat to the Catholic Church was growing within Christendom itself and Pope Innocent III called for the crusade against heresy to eliminate both the Albigenses and Valdenses, two movements that did not adhere to Church orthodoxy.
Andreas, a knight who longs to go on crusade to the Holy Land, finds himself fighting against one in his French homeland. While Andreas wages war for the lives and religious freedom of his people, a battle rages within his soul.
Eva, a young woman of a new religious order, the Beguines, discovers a secret message within a letter about the death of her father in the Holy Land. As she learns more of her father, she is forced to confront the profound and perilous spiritual inheritance he has bequeathed to her. A legacy for which she must fight.
Hearing of the feats of Andreas, Eva senses her inheritance may lead her to him.
Filled with battles of the flesh and the spirit, Taking the Cross reveals a passionate aspect of Medieval times where some fought ardently for the freedom of others. [provided by the author]
Attention reviewers: some medieval warfare violence
Gibson brings the carnage and destruction of the Albigensian Crusade with clarity in impeccable detail. His prose is outstanding, you will feel transported to this brutal time in history.
Gibson dives right into the narrative from the start, I could not put the book down. It is gripping, heartbreaking and suspenseful. Imagine the Roman Catholic Church launching a full scale expedition against fellow Christians in France for basically not conforming to their rules. A turbulent and conflicting period all in the name of religion. I’m well versed with the Crusades, Gibson’s effort is severely provoking. With the present day state of our world, certainly causes one to ponder if history will repeat itself, once again under the guise of religion.
Taking the Cross is not for the faint of heart. The battle scenes are savage, nothing inappropriate, only vivid descriptions of the mayhem and barbaric violence occurring. So many lives needlessly taken, very affecting leaving the reader disgusted and angry. Enough political/religious strife touched upon without boredom or weighing the story negatively. Fabulous balance. Ironic a ‘religious’ war is so incredibly inhumanly violent.
The two main protagonists contrast and compliment providing magnitude to the entire narrative. Andreas – a battle weary knight and Eva – belongs to the religious order of Beguines. The narrative alternates between Andreas and Eva allowing different perspectives from varying positions as well as providing their respective back story’s. Their lives are parallel but not connected directly at this point, you sense their lives will tether at a pivotal point (speculation on my part) based on peppering of scenes throughout the plot. Characterization is well done, you are more than familiar with these two compelling players.
Gibson creates a riveting story, full of suspense during a bloody and religiously turbulent time. Taking the Cross will appeal to a wide audience – history, christian fans, ALL will enjoy a well presented story highlighting the Albigensian Crusade
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Charles Gibson first started reading about history and geography when he was seven.
He wrote his first short story at the age of nine.
He continues to read and write whenever he can.
Charles has spent many years researching the Middle Ages and the Crusades,
and has traveled to the Languedoc region in France.
He has combined the passions of history and geography and prose to finish his first novel, Taking the Cross.
It takes place during the summer of 1209 in France.
Charles Gibson has previously written for the inspirational book series God Allows U-Turns
as well as for a Minnesota newspaper.
He also works as a project manager for a medical device company.
He also loves travel writing,
and would like to start his own magazine some day about travel as a journey through life.
The dominant theme of his writing is freedom.
“It was for freedom that Christ set us free;
therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery.”
He lives in Minnesota with his lovely wife and energetic sons.
He can be reached at cg [at] charlesgibson [dot] net
Send him your questions and comments.
This giveaway is open internationally. We will have 2 winners: print copies. Click Here To Enter The Giveaway. Thanks so much to France Book Tours for organizing this great tour. Don’t forget to visit the other stops on this tour. Click Here to view the full tour schedule and see the list of participating blogs.