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Hammer of God
Hammer of God
by Robert E. Hirsch


 
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W & B Publishers (2016). Paperback. Signed.

That the most cataclysmic events in history are often engineered by men of decent heart in the name of righteousness is a bloody testament to both the blinding power of misguided conviction and the ignorance of the masses. Such was the wellspring of the Crusades, a murderous rampage of hatred and intolerance that bared its ugly fangs at the end of the 11th Century, and whose venom lingers within us to this very day.

In the year 1073, seven-year-old Tristan de Saint-Germain is abandoned by his mother and placed in the care of Grand Prior Odo de Lagery and the Black Monks of Burgundy, France. The young lad's frightening intelligence quickly gains the favor of his new mentor as well as the attention of the Vatican leadership, and at age eighteen young Tristan is inducted into the Benedictine Order. Beneath the watchful eyes of Odo de Lagery and the Cardinals of Rome who quickly begin grooming Tristan as the very promise of the Church's future, Tristan is tasked with carrying out the secret orders, embassies, and assassinations of the Benedictine underground on behalf of the Gregorian Papacy.

But Tristan holds a secret. He has become hopelessly drawn to a beautiful young Romani gypsy girl, MALA, whom he meets by chance as a boy. They encounter each other only on a few occasions since first meeting as children, but each has by now fallen under that mysterious thrall between near strangers that overcomes all reason and defies all convention. Indeed, despite his holy vows, his rigid monastic indoctrination, and his labors on behalf of the Benedictine underground, Tristan cannot and will not refute his growing and unbridled passion for Mala. Their clandestine relationship, however, will weave a twisted trail that can only lead to heartbreak, betrayal, and tragedy as Treistan's stature continues to rise within the Church as it fights schism from within and the sudden threat of Islam arising from Spain, Africa, and the Middle East. Indeed, their illicit romance and trail of deceit unknowingly becomes twisted within the very course of destiny as Europe careens forward into the bloodiest and most visceral conflict of history, the Crusades. Their love and their undying resolve is challenged and tested again and again by Church law, by shifting political winds, and by strains born of their own opposing values and conflicting dreams.

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