Book Review: Defender of Jerusalem: A Biographical Novel of Balian d'Ibelin

Check it out on Online Book Club!

This was an Book of the Day!

About the Author

Defender of Jerusalem won Silver for Christian Historical Fiction in the Readers' Favorite Book Awards 2016, the 2015 Chaucer Award for Historical Fiction Set in the Middle Ages, and the Silver Award for Spiritual/Religious Fiction in the 2016 Feathered Quill Literary Awards. It was also a finalist for the M.M. Bennetts Award for Historical Fiction and a B.R.A.G. Medallion honoree. Visit Helena P. Schrader's website: for a complete description and reviews of her publications, or follow her blog: for updates on current works in progress, recent reviews, and excerpts. For more on the crusader kingdoms and Balian d'Ibelin visit: or follow her blog on the Crusader Kingdoms at: http://defendingcrusaderkingdoms. Helena is a career U.S. diplomat currently serving in Africa.

The Recommendation

Anyone who loves stories about the Holy Wars from a historical perspective with a lot of unique and interesting details will find this book to be a treasure trove of useful information and stories.

The Review

This is the second book in a trilogy about Balian d'lbelin and it is chock full of information about the Holy Wars. I love the literary aspects of the wars, even if the wars themselves were horrible and should never have happened.

This book manages to encapsulate the lives of a lot of different characters, and every single one of them felt well-rounded and developed. I loved the way in which this story was put together and the historical aspects of what was being presented, but my feeling was that it was a little bit longer than it needed to be. It could have been a bit shorter and left out some of the repetition in the conversations and still been just as good.

That being said, this book was captivating and the stories told were amazing. The charts and maps were perfect and their inclusion made this entire thing spring to life in a whole new way.

The Rating


About the Book

The Christian kingdom of Jerusalem is under siege. The charismatic Kurdish leader, Salah ad-Din, has succeeded in uniting Shiite Egypt with Sunnite Syria and has now declared jihad against the Christian kingdom. While King Baldwin IV struggles to defend his kingdom from the external threat despite the increasing ravages of leprosy, the struggle for the succession threatens to tear the kingdom apart from the inside. In the high-stakes game, one man stands out for his loyalty to the dying king, the kingdom, and Christianity itself. That man is Balian d'Ibelin.

This is the second book in a three-part biographical novel about Balian d'Ibelin, who defended Jerusalem against Salah ad-Din in 1187. The first book in the series, Knight of Jerusalem, was a finalist for the 2014 Chaucer Award for Historical Fiction and a B.R.A.G. Medallion Honoree.