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The Cult: A Novel of Two Norman Kingdoms
A meeting of two worlds. A tale of forbidden love. A chronicle of heresy and crime. Set in the era of the Third Crusade, The Cult is a beautifully written historical novel that follows the fates of Elise, Edmond, and Martin, three pupils of a learned English scholar. Early in the story, all three become caught in a web of deceit and threatened by an ancient Gnostic cult reincarnated in a new and monstrous form. Pledged to each other, Elise and Edmond strive to keep their love alive despite great opposition. One by one, each for a different reason, the three come to Arab-Norman Sicily, a rich and brilliant realm where Christians, Jews, and Muslims live in peace. In cosmopolitan Palermo, minarets rise beside church towers, the Norman king keeps a harem, and Muslims work with Christian clerics to recover classic texts. Here Martin meets Khalil al-Din, the Arab scholar who will change his life. As their imperiled lives unfold, all three friends struggle against both the evil of the cult and the oppressive prohibitions of their time. Their intimate stories bring to life an epic age whose conflicts closely parallel our own.