Emperor Frederick II has re-established Christian control over Jerusalem by means of a treaty with the Egyptian Sultan al-Kamil, but the Sultan brags that he will drive the Christians out as soon as the ten-year truce expires. The common people of the Holy Land show their contempt for the Emperor and his treaty by pelting him with offal, while the barons resist Frederick's absolutism with the demand for rule of law. Filled with resentment and bitterness toward his impertinent subjects, the Emperor vows to destroy the family that embodies the independent spirit of Outremer: the Ibelins. The Emperor's deputies will stop at nothing to fulfill their orders, but the Ibelins fight back. Then the Pope goes over to the side of the Emperor, and Balian's marriage becomes a spiritual weapon turned against his father.