I have received a free e-copy of the book Outremer by D N Carter to review.
Here is the book blurb.
Who Controls The Past Controls The Future
An epic love story must overcome religious divide and a plot to eradicate two blood lines, as the Crusades and the search for the ancient mysteries of the Holy Grail gather momentum.
Raised by his father in La Rochelle, France, Paul Plantavalu is known for his artistic nature, inquisitive mind and Christian faith. He also has an unshakable love for his Muslim childhood friend, Alisha al Komaty. Courageous and outspoken, she returns Paul’s love. But their path is paved with obstacles; religion, war, political chaos and a mysterious enemy determined to destroy their family lines.
Sometime between 1110 AD and 1120 AD in the aftermath of the first crusade, a small band of nine knights — the founding knights Templar — recover ancient precious artefacts left by a former, advanced civilisation, beneath the City of Jerusalem. Ruthlessly guarded, the secrets revealed by this discovery are highly prized by powerful and dangerous forces far and wide; the repercussions of their capture are inextricably linked to Paul and Alisha. As Paul starts to experience dark and vivid dreams and the fragile balance of peace starts to crumble, it will fall to an enigmatic man known as Kratos and his female warrior protégée Abi Shadana, to safeguard Paul and Alisha.
Paul and Alisha’s love story weaves between the threads of our reality and other realms — from the Druids to the Sufi mystics, the Magi of the East, the secret political arm of the Knights Templar and the Isma’ilis, the Assassins. Knights and pilgrims alike will witness some of the darkest battles ever fought. The discovery of a unique sword’s lethal power and whispered connections to King Arthur and the Holy Grail lead Paul and Alisha to question if their lives ever be the same again.
The first of a four-part series, Outremer is an historical epic, which sweeps across England, Scotland and France, to Syria, Jerusalem and Egypt. Discover the truth — and crack the ancient code — behind the great mysteries of the High Middle Ages for yourself.
This is an epic of a book and it is only part 1 of 4. The first few pages are set in 1109, but most of the book is set in two timelines 1178-79 and a storyteller recounting the tale in 1191. It is never revealed who the storyteller is, but I have my own theory. However I’m sure we have to wait until part 4 to find that out. The main timeline follows 15 year old Paul Plantavalu in La Rochelle, France, his father Philip and their close Muslim friends Firgany Al Komati, son Taqi, daughter Alisha and sister Raja. Paul along with Taqi enrages his elder brother Stewart by spying on his Templar initiation ceremony.
Paul and Alisha fall in love. Their fathers are against this. The old man Niccolas gives Paul and Taqi scrolls of their destinies and future path choices. Firgany and family are due to return home to Mawsil and then both families will move to Alexandria next year where Philip and Raja will marry. Paul writes a poem for Alisha before his father sends him to collect a horse from Rochefort-sur-Terre. There he makes an enemy of Templar Seneschal Gerard de Ridefort and a new friend Rick who gives him a gift. When he returns home the next day, Firgany and family have already left.
On the boat back, Raja gets ill. So she remains at Castle Blanc in the Levant whilst Firgany and Taqi continue. Alisha accompanies them part way to collect some medicinal hemp, but they are ambushed. All survive due to the intervention of Abi Shadana. But sadly Raja dies in Alisha’s arms before Firgany and Taqi return. This causes a change in plan and they all return to La Rochelle to break the bad news.
Paul doesn’t see how he can continue to pursue his love for Alisha when his father has lost Raja. By the time he resolves his confusion, Alisha is so hurt that she rejects him. We’re not even half way through the book at this point, but I shall stop now, leaving you to wonder how Paul and Alisha will sort out their differences.
I could certainly imagine a film based on this, but I have to say I skimmed through sections of Bible references, symbols and other philosophies which I just found too deep. I still enjoyed the story though and marvelled at how much of it is based on fact. I was particularly fascinated by the idea of secrets being carved into cathedrals as they were built.
Outremer is available on Amazon, currently priced at £14.99 in paperback and is also available in hardback or kindle format. A challenging read but enjoyable.
Here is an extract from the book for you to read.
This scene is set at the ancient Dolmen site in the South of France at ‘Draguignan Pierre des feé’. The convoy Alisha was in stopped there for the night on their way to Freju. This is where she discovers for the first time her ability to heal. It is also where Theodoric makes his first proper appearance. Paul and Taqi hearing a commotion of villagers outside their caravan rushed to check.
“Clear off you, whoever you are this has no business of your like,” one of the male villagers shouted back.
“Taqi, what happens here?” Paul asked as he stood next to him.
“Tis not your problem boys…now be away with you,” the overweight lady stated still holding the broom high above her head.
Paul rapidly studied the situation. The crowd were clearly angry and hostile, the man on the floor bloodied, his face swollen already and both his eyes closed from bruising. As the man rolled onto his back, Paul saw a worn patch where a cross had once been sewn.
“This man has leprosy yet he denies it and drank from our mead barrels…” a tall muscled man stated and moved to kick the man again.
“No!” Paul shouted and without hesitation ran forwards and pushed the muscled man back hard nearly causing him to stumble but his colleagues behind him steadied him.
“Oh…look…we have a young hero here,” the muscled man mocked.
Paul immediately knelt down next to the man, supported him and lifted him so he could look at his face. Blood was oozing from his split lip and several cuts to his face, his eyes closed due to swelling and his forehead and hands were covered in blisters and scabs. He coughed as he tried to speak.
“Are you mad boy…he has leprosy,” someone at the back shouted.
Paul looked at the subdued area where a badge was once sewn,
“Rick, tis me…Paul” Paul whispered.
“The boy knows this leper,” the overweight woman shouted as the muscled man leant forward to grab Paul from behind.
“Touch him and you will regret it,” Taqi stated sternly.
The muscled man paused briefly to look at Taqi, grinned and then grabbed Paul and lifted him up hard to his feet. Quickly Paul turned to face him as the muscled man pulled his fist back to punch him. Suddenly the man’s face contorted in pain and he started to go backwards and to his knees. Paul looked ahead. Tenno was standing behind the muscled man using just one hand to squeeze the man’s right hand, Tenno’s gaze staring hard at all the villagers who watched amazed. The muscled man squirmed in agony and tried to twist away from Tenno, but Tenno did not move.
“Please…Please…please I beg of you…let go,” the muscled man pleaded in agony, sweat beading across his forehead. Tenno continued his stare at the crowd. The overweight woman lowered her broom and they all began to back away slowly.
Alisha appeared beside Tenno carrying the large two edged sword in her right hand wearing a bright blue shawl around her shoulders. She placed her left hand upon Tenno’s that was crushing the muscled man’s hand. Gently she squeezed her hand over Tenno’s, his hand huge in comparison. Tenno broke his stare at the group and released his grip instantly, the muscled man falling to the floor holding his hand with his left still in agony. Alisha then stepped forwards and walked slowly in front of the crowd looking at them all in turn one by one. She said nothing as she looked into each of their eyes. Several of them looked away or down in shame. After she had walked past the last person, her left hand over her tummy, her right hand holding the sword, she moved to face Paul. She outstretched her right arm and offered him the sword. Despite its size, the sword was remarkably light due to its unique manufacture and material construction. Seeing this, one woman crossed her heart and knelt down and began asking for forgiveness. Taqi just starred bemused at what he was seeing as several Hospitaller’s came and stood behind them. Sister Lucy edged her way next to him shaking her head surprised at Alisha’s obvious affect upon all present. Two more villagers knelt down and crossed their hearts. The muscled man looked up at Alisha still in pain. Paul took the sword.
“You forgot this…do not ever enter into trouble again without it,” she said softly.
“Who…who are you?” the muscled man asked in pain nervously looking behind him at Tenno still towering over him.
Paul tied the sword around his waist quickly and looked at the crowd as they all stared at Alisha. Taqi moved to help the elderly injured man on the floor. Paul likewise knelt to help lift the man whom he knew to be Rick. As they both lifted him to his feet, the muscled man stood up holding his hand in pain. Alisha walked over toward him slowly looking directly into his eyes. He backed away hesitantly as she drew nearer. Paul looked on concerned as he struggled to hold the weight of Rick who could hardly stand, his head hung down.
“Wh…what are you going to do?” the muscled man asked nervously as he moved backwards, tripped on the edge of the track and fell to his knee. Alisha walked up and stood immediately in front of him and stared into his hazel green eyes. He stared back and all stood in silence as Paul watched. Taqi shook his head he had no idea what she was doing as Sister Lucy edged her way nearer to her. As Alisha stared into his eyes, hers wide and her pupils large, she did not blink. After what seemed an age, the muscled mans bottom lip started to quiver and tears began to well in his eyes as he was flooded with emotions. He was still holding his right hand up with his left when Alisha moved to place her hand upon his. He flinched momentarily, but then saw the slight smile start on her face. Very softly she placed her hand over his injured fist. She tilted her head slightly as she looked deeper into his eyes. Sister Lucy shot a look back at Paul bemused as Tenno watched, his face still fierce. The muscled man let out a nervous laugh as the pain simply left his hand. He blinked amazed and smiled as tears fell from his eyes totally unashamedly. Several in the crowd fell to their knees and crossed their hearts. Taqi looked at Paul totally confused. The muscled man knelt down in front of Alisha grasped her hand with both of his and kissed her hand softly and cried. Alisha looked at the crowd of people. One of the Hospitaller’s knelt down followed by another, then another until everyone was kneeling. Paul looked at them all in surprise and then at Alisha.
“Paul,” Rick coughed painfully as he tried to speak.
“This man knows you?” Taqi quizzed as he struggled to hold him up.
Alisha turned to look at Paul and Taqi holding Rick. She let go of the muscled man’s hands and walked across to them. She looked at Rick’s swollen and bruised face and gently placed her hand upon his cheek. Immediately he coughed, stood up straighter and shook his head and took his own weight on his legs. His eyes were still closed swollen as he placed his hand upon Alisha’s hand still on his face.
“Blessed are you mother of our Lord,” Rick coughed out.
Instantly several more in the crowd crossed their hearts and whispered prayers.
“No, I am just Alisha,” she replied softly and looked sadly at the state of Rick’s face. Sister Lucy approached and gently pulled Alisha’s hand away from Rick’s face. “Do not worry, ‘tis not leprosy.”
The muscled man stood to his feet looking at his hands still amazed. He looked at Tenno who narrowed his eyes. ‘Sorry’ the man mouthed to him.
“Come, child…with me,” Sister Lucy said aloud and began to usher Alisha away.
Paul looked on concerned as Alisha seemed to be in some kind of trance almost he thought. He had never seen her like this and Taqi shook his head also bemused.
About the author
After strange and vivid experiences whilst living in Cyprus as a child, author D N Carter has been fascinated by the history, myths and legends of the Middle Ages and mankind’s past. As he got older travels to Pyramids of Giza in Egypt, the Languedoc region of France and the deserts of Arabia fuelled his enthusiasm. While not decoding maps and mathematical codes D N Carter enjoys adventure sports from parachuting to microlight flying. Today he divides his time between East Anglia in the UK and the south of France with his family.
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Disclosure. This post is a review of an e-book I was sent for free. All opinions are my own.