“The most significant contribution to rethinking the origins and course of the First Crusade for a generation.”—Mark Whittow, Times Literary Supplement
“Filled with Byzantine intrigue, in every sense this book is important, compellingly revisionist and impressive. It refocuses the familiar western story through the eyes of the emperor of the east and fills in the missing piece of the puzzle of the Crusades.”—Simon Sebag Montefiore, author of Jerusalem: The Biography
“Highly readable…its presentation of political machinations, compromises, and betrayals seems utterly convincing.”—Michael Dirda, Washington Post
“A dazzling book, perfectly combining deep scholarship and easy readability. The most important addition to Crusading literature since Steven Runciman.”—John Julius Norwich, author of Byzantium
“Fluent and dramatic…Frankopan rightly places the Emperor Alexios at the heart of the First Crusade, skillfully adding a dimension frequently missing from our understanding of this seminal event.”—Jonathan Phillips, author of Holy Warriors
In 1096, an expedition of extraordinary scale and ambition set off from western Europe on a mass pilgrimage to Jerusalem. Three years later, after a journey that saw acute hardship, the most severe dangers, and thousands of casualties, the knights of the First Crusade found themselves storming the fortifications and capturing the Holy City. Against all odds, the expedition had returned Jerusalem to Christian hands.
In this groundbreaking book, Peter Frankopan paints a vivid picture of this infamous confrontation between Christianity and Islam. Basing his account on long-ignored eastern sources, he gives a provocative and highly original explanation of the world-changing events that followed. The Vatican’s victory cemented papal power, while Constantinople, the heart of the still-vital Byzantine Empire, never recovered. Frankopan’s revolutionary work shows how the taking of Jerusalem set the stage for western Europe’s dominance and shaped the modern world.