Heyo, it's that time again!
Last week was the debut of First Line Friday being hosted by Hoarding Books and I think this will work out so much better. If you are unfamiliar with how things work now, Hoarding Books was created by the original four members of First Line Friday - we've now grown to nearly 30 regular, active posters. It makes sense to start using a link-up so we are all connected in one place instead of trying to remember to add each new person to each of our individual posts. If you are a Top Ten Tuesday-er then the format will be very familiar to you. If not, check our The Broke and the Bookish for another cool way to connect with other bloggers and find new books to enjoy.
This week my first line is from one of the texts I am using for my research and writing on Eleanor of Aquitaine.
"Nine hundred years ago the Christians of Europe waged a series of holy wars, or crusades, against the Muslim world, battling for dominion of a region sacred to both faiths - the Holy Land. This bloody struggle raged for two centuries, reshaping the history of Islam and the West."
You might be wondering how any of the crusades could possibly relate to Eleanor and why a book about such topics would be useful to my own book. Please allow me the very briefest of explanations:
Eleanor and her first husband Louis VII of France lead the Second Crusade to the Holy Land. It was a dismal failure and Eleanor nearly succeeded in gaining an annulment from Louis right there in Antioch, with her uncle Raymond's encouragement. He was the prince of Antioch and had left Aquitaine when Eleanor was very young. As the youngest son in the family, he had no prospects by remaining in Poitiers so he made his fortune elsewhere, first in England in the service of Henry I and later in Antioch. Unfortunately he was killed in battle after Louis had forced Eleanor to leave with his army to head for Jerusalem.
Then of course there is Richard the Lion Heart, Eleanor's most beloved son who headed up the Third Crusade while he was king of England. He was captured and imprisoned by former crusader allies whom he had managed to piss off, and they were working in conjunction with John to keep Richard from getting home. Eleanor naturally put a stop to that nonsense in typical mama bear fashion, collected the huge sums needed for Richard's ransom, and hand-delivered it to Duke Leopold of Austria in exchange for her son's freedom.
So, yeah, the crusades are kind of a major factor in Eleanor's life.
What are you reading this week? Leave a comment below with your own line, or thoughts on mine, or both! Then head over to Hoarding Books to see what other First Liners have this week.