Hana Samek Norton
The Serpent's Crown
In the aftermath of the Fourth Crusade, the grip of European knights on the Holy Land has begun to loosen. The Muslim forces under Saladin have won a major victory, and the crusaders have so far forgotten themselves as to besiege, then sack, the imperial Christian city of Constantinople their nominal allies. In the confusion thus created, two warring clans the Lusignans and the Ibelin sat times cooperate but more often compete for supremacy, spurred on by the marital and political maneuvering of Maria Komnene, queen of Jerusalem. The conflict expands to include Cyprus, Armenia, the Levant, and the Eastern Roman Empire as a whole.
The plots and counterplots sweep up Juliana de Charnais, in distant Poitou. The legitimacy of her marriage is in question, a male relative captures her daughter, and her unsatisfactory husband has chosen to obey another relatives summons to defend the Lusignan cause in the east.
To reclaim her child, Juliana follows her husband. A former novice, Juliana seeks first and foremost to remain true to her conscience. But in a world where assassins lurk in every corner, just staying alive may prove enough of a challenge.
From central France to Nicosia and Jerusalem, Hana Samek Norton weaves a rich and fascinating tapestry of love, loss, loyalty, betrayal, and deceit. Fans of Dorothy Dunnetts sweeping historical sagas should not miss The Sixth Surrender and its sequel, The Serpent’s Crown (Cuidono Press, 2015).
C. P. Lesley is the author of six novels, including Legends of the Five Directions (The Golden Lynx, The Winged Horse, and The Swan Princess), a historical fiction series set in 1530s Russia, during the childhood of Ivan the Terrible. Find out more about her at http://www.cplesley.com.