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To Shine With Honor

Book One: Coming of Age


Website(s) Real Crusades History (writer and editor) 
Illustrator Cover: Mari Christie Maps: Rachel Moreno
Genres Historical Fiction
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Galien de Coudre, third son in a French family of minor nobility, pledged to the Church at birth, schooled in letters, trained at arms and horse by his father and older brothers, all knights, finds his once-certain future as a high Church official compromised by his father’s battle injuries and the death of his mother, which prevent him from attending cathedral school in Paris. At nineteen years, a love forbidden compels his father to send him off to a monastery. There, his illusions about religious life are shattered, but he gains the friendship of a renowned architect and travels to a distant city to assist in the building of a great cathedral.

In the surprising life that follows, Galien is drawn into the family profession of arms, and finds success, love, heartbreak, and utter despair. After years of adventure, danger, and battle in sacred and storied lands at the center of the world, he finds what appears to be lasting peace and happiness in the new Kingdom of Jerusalem, but in his final destiny, will he be compelled to again take up his sword and travel great distances over sea and land to fight battles that will shape the lives of his descendants for the century to come?

Presented in three volumes of approximately 90,000 words each, To Shine With Honor is an epic tale of the uncertain world of late 11th century France, where powerful noblemen massacred the other and innocents in disputes over lands and wealth despite the efforts of the Church to control their violence, and of the great expedition known in history as the First Crusade, that drew these warring countrymen together as brothers in arms and in Christ.

In the story of Galien de Coudre and his family, friends, and adversaries, the reader will learn of knighthood in its early years as a medieval institution and of the beginnings of chivalry, find men of deepest evil and those who aspire to Godliness, journey with the soul through its loss and redemption, and see into the lives of women who find their own means to survive and prosper in a world ruled by men and their violent natures. Behind all lies the bond between Galien and his brother Thierré de Coudre, begun in their youth despite their differences in temperament, unbreakable in over thirty years of upheaval, war, and separation by distances unimaginable.

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