Filled with bloody battles, brutal torture, and extraordinary feats of courage and faith, John J. Robinson’s Dungeon, Fire, & Sword tells the stirring story of one of the worlds most famous military orders—the Knights Templar. For nearly two hundred years during the Crusades, this extraordinary group of monkwarriors waged war against Muslims in the Holy Land. Fearless fighters, the Knights amassed great power and wealth over the years, but were ultimately betrayed by the papacy—the very office that had personally protected them for so long.
In fluid and gripping prose, John J. Robinson captures all the emotion and excitement of the great Crusades as he describes the origin, the exploits, and the ultimate demise of the Knights Templar. Formed shortly after the First Crusade, the group began humbly when nine men took sacred vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience, and dedicated their entire lives to serving the True Cross. At first they just guarded the pilgrim roads to Jerusalem, but over the years the Knights became the largest standing army in the Christian kingdom.
Over twenty thousand military monks fought and died crossing swords with Muslim “infidels.” Their selfless dedication earned them a flood of gifts, including vast estates and castles. But once the Crusades were lost, so was the Knights’ purpose. Their wealth, however, remained. Motivated in part by envy and greed, the Church issued a papal bull ordering all members of the military order arrested, tortured, and executed by the Inquisition. During one terrible morning in Paris, fifty-four Templars were burned alive.
Interwoven with the incredible story of the Knights is a fascinating history of the Holy Land, its people, and its politics. As he brings the Middle East vividly to life, the author provides fresh understanding of its inhabitants, including the Sunnis and the Shiites, the Kurds and the Egyptians, and the Arabs and the Turks. The result is a breathtaking tapestry of the world at the time of the Crusades, as rich and colorful as the most imaginative fiction.
A former Marine, farmer, and business executive, John J. Robinson is the author of the provocative medieval history Born in Blood. During his lifetime he was a member of the Medieval Academy of America, The Organization of American Historians, and the Royal Overseas League of London.