The thrilling third instalment in the epic LIONHEART series from Sunday Times Bestselling author, Ben Kane.
Autumn 1192. With Jerusalem still in the Saracens' hands, and a peace treaty agreed with their leader Saladin, Richard the Lionheart is free at last to travel back to his strife-ridden kingdom. By his side at every turn is the loyal knight Ferdia, also known as Rufus. Together they will face not just Richard's archenemy Philippe Capet of France, but also the king's treacherous younger brother, John.
Shipwrecked on the Italian coast, the king and his small group of companions are forced into a perilous journey through lands controlled by their enemies. Shortly before Christmas 1192, Richard is taken prisoner near Vienna by Duke Leopold of Austria. Kept prisoner for several months, the king is then handed over to Henry VI, the Holy Roman Emperor. His captivity lasts for another year, fanning the flames of unrest in his territories in England and beyond.
Talks between Richard's mother Queen Alienor and Henry VI last for months, but finally reach a bitter agreement. The extortionate sum demanded to free the king will empty the treasury and bleed England dry. Philippe Capet and Richard's brother John collude, offering vast sums to see the king kept captive for longer. Their efforts are in vain, leading Philippe to pen a letter to John including the famous line: 'Look to yourself, the devil is loose.'
Crowned for a second time to wash away the shame of his captivity, Richard restores order in England, forgiving John his shameful behaviour. His next task is to recover territories lost to Philippe Capet, and to re-establish his dominance over the French king. Forging clever alliances, building strategic castles and when obliged, waging war, the Lionheart carves a unique path into history.