Leanda de Lisle

Mice, Locusts & Sodomy

Defending the City of God: A Medieval Queen, the First Crusades, and the Quest for Peace in Jerusalem

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Palgrave Macmillan 256pp £17.99 order from our bookshop

Sharan Newman began writing Defending the City of God as a biography of Melisende, the first hereditary queen of Jerusalem, but expanded it to include the lives of her parents, siblings, in-laws, more distant relatives, their enemies and the ‘many diverse peoples who lived in the Near East’. It’s a complex story and one that in Newman’s hands left me as baffled as a six-year-old in a sex education lesson. What on earth is going on?

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