Knights of the Black and White
It is 1088. While many French nobles continue their occupation of a violently hostile England, one young knight, Hugh de Payens, is inducted into a powerful secret society in his father's castle in Anjou. The Order of Rebirth in Sion draws its membership from the ranks of some of France's most powerful families, with only one son from each generation eligible to be selected, and its members' loyalty to the ancient brotherhood transcends loyalty to both Church and state.
When the new Pope calls for knights to join his Crusade to redeem the Holy Land, Hugh is commanded by the Order to go along and finds himself in hellish battle in Jerusalem. Sickened by the slaughter of innocents and civilians and appalled by the savagery of his fellow Christians, Hugh appeals to the Order to allow him and a few of the brotherhood to follow a different path. Determined to remain true to their own beliefs, they become the Poor Fellow Soldiers of Christ, a unique order of fighting monks, and use the skills honed in battle to defend and protect pilgrims on the road to Jerusalem. But the Order has a different plan, and soon the brethren are charged with an outlandish and dangerous task — a seemingly impossible mission to uncover a treasure hidden in the very center of Jerusalem, a treasure that might not only destroy the Crusader kingdom of Jerusalem but also threaten the fabric of the Church itself. (From Penguin Canada)
From the book
As the guards on either side of the doors ahead came to attention and saluted him, not even the rattling clatter of their armor penetrated awareness of the frowning, mop-headed young man who walked towards them. He was deep in though, head down and moving slowly, a heavy, sheathed broadsword slung across the back of his neck like a yoke, and his arms extended so that his hands hung loosely over both ends of the long weapon, at hilt and point. It was the guards' movements that finally caught his attention as they stepped quickly forward and swung the side, heavy doors open to admit him. He looked up, blinked, nodded cordially at the guard commander, and dropped one arm from the end of the sword, catching the hilt in his other hand at the same moment, so that the long blade swung upright before he allowed it to slope backward to rest on his shoulder again.
From Knights of the Black and White by Jack Whyte ©2006. Published by Penguin Canada.