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Birth of the Kingdom

(The Crusades Trilogy #3)

4.08  ·  Rating details ·  4,459 ratings  ·  133 reviews
An exiled warrior determined to unite his homeland returns to face his greatest battle yet in this stirring final volume in the trilogy that began with The Road to Jerusalem—a critically acclaimed epic "destined to become a classic" (Sharon Kay Penman).

Exiled from his home and the woman he loves, Arn de Gotha became one of the fiercest and most feared warriors of the Knigh
Hardcover, 480 pages
Published June 28th 2011 by HarperCollins (first published 2000)
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Average rating 4.08  · 
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Wonderful. Book 3 of 3: the crusades trilogy.
Arn de Gothia has served his 20 year penance as a knight templar in the Holy Land. But it is a further 4 years before he is back home with his clan.
Now Arn finally gets to wed his love Claudia (who has served her 20 years penance in a convent). They work together to create a peaceful kingdom.
But Arn knows war is coming. He gathers and trains his knights. But also strengthens his clans most important areas.
The prose was so clear: i saw and felt every
Short review


Long review

Its not that it's bad, far from it, jus needed a bit more Bosh & (some) blood..... cant recollect a book from the age of Feudalism where so many got to 3 score & ten & popped off peacefully in their sleep leaving Valhalla (& more importantly me) rightly pissed off!

Definitely one of those candidates where the filim is better than the books.

Ante Pelivan
Sep 09, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history-fiction
There are spoiler in this one. So if you plan on reading this book, don't read any more. Or do, because, you're about to step in a trap.


If your read the first two, don't bother reading this one. It's a real shame this saga ended with such under-whelming novel.

The whole plot could be summarized as follows: Everything went according to plan. Everything.

Arn is doing great.
Cecilia is doing great.
Their marriage is going great.
Their daughter is doing great.
Their son, the cause o
The third and final book in the trilogy would,in short,justify the term: information is a half success of achieving the victory.The rest is preparation for an inevitable outcome. What we are witnessing here,as readers,as well as spectators,is a change that could shape the future of everyone's life and the land and it's denizens.Who will be the victor?What price will be paid to achieve victory?Can it be prevailed or postponed?All the answers lie in this book and if you we're paying attention and ...more
Jul 02, 2012 rated it really liked it
Arn and Cecilia are finally reunited, and Arn begins plans to ensure peace in his homeland for years to come. Not everyone necessarily agrees with his plans, however, and obstacles threaten to reignite war in the North.

This was a great conclusion to the story of Arn, and a great introduction to the birth of Sweden. Some of the highlights: the reunion of Arn and Cecilia is just as awkward as it should be. He was a Templar for 20 years, she spent those same 20 years in a convent. Of course that re
Sotiris Karaiskos
Quite less interesting is the ending of this trilogy. The author completed his dealing with the events of the crusades in the previous book, leaving only a great epilogue for the end. There are, of course, more events as our author describes the political conflicts in medieval Sweden that somehow shaped it and the inevitable armed conflict that ultimately ended the issue of succession, but it does so in a rather quick way, giving it a secondary role in the book. It is characteristic that the des ...more
Michael Campbell
Nov 23, 2018 rated it it was ok
This book felt a bit lazy compared to the first two. The thoughtful and often profound dialogue that made the first two interesting is almost completely gone. We're left with basically one big long info dump.

Most of the historical material is pretty dry stuff as well. I wonder why he chose to rush through the third crusade to talk about a big church and fortress being built and a bit of political strife. Our lovers are reunited, but that felt lackluster too.

I found myself skimming large sectio
Ash Gawain
Arn Magnusson comes to Sweden after some time served in the Holy Land. As he can finally marry his wife and see his child for the first time after twenty years, he is not only tall, strong, blond and handsome. He is also awesome and, most importantly, rich. He uses his time and money to build a comfortable house with running water, while dispenses his political advice to Swedish noble men.
Not as good as the other two books.
Mar 04, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

Excellent conclusion to a solid historical series.
Our hero returns from the Crusades and reunites with his lost love and son, and is involved with the early stages of the founding of Sweden.
Apr 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It has been a long time since I was saddened to finish a book, much less a trilogy. This was excellent.
Apr 23, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: historical
The final part of the trilogy, unlike the first and second was a bit slow paced and monotone. It doesn't feel like much is happening except at the end when they go to battle again and we see the change in rule and the end of the story for Arn. The ending is also a good introduction into the standalone book Arn's Legacy which is about Arn's grandson.
In this book we see that Arn is truly extraordinary person, very smart and kind but fierce when needed. I would say he possesses true qualities for a
Jan 04, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The final book of the trilogy was not as good as the second but still very, very good.

My overall rating on the trilogy is a solid 4; the first was good, the second was excellent and the third very good. As I mentioned in the review of the first, I saw the movie (condensed version of the Swedish mini-series) and really enjoyed it; now I am glad that I saw it before I read the series, because it would have been a big disappointment. I hope that they release the mini-series sometime in the future,
Stephen Plank
Jun 30, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
By far and away the best trilogy that I have ever read. Having seen ARN, a movie that spun all three books into one movie - a gem, I had to read the books. The movie was the most expensive adventure that Sweden had ever put into a movie according to Wikipedia and it was worth it with one exception - this book was cut short in so may ways. To know that his life and love were not just a few months or years as portrayed in the movie made me so happy to read more about how he and his wife modernize ...more
Lisbeth Sundman
Oct 12, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was never interested in history in school, but to read about the formation of the Kingdom of sweden, about the hostility and fights between the different "tribes" and neighbour countries, about the development made possible with knowledge from other countries, about the church and it's powers, about slaves and labourers, about people's thougjts and beliefs - I could go on! It's hard to stop reading!
Jan 26, 2014 rated it really liked it
It is four stars for now. I am contemplating five stars.
Dec 11, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Could have been 200 pages shorter
Adam Bell
Oct 11, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Svetlana Stocks
Jun 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The present title of this book is The Birth of the Kingdom . It is book 3 of Jan Guillou’s Crusades Trilogy. I was completely entranced by these books which tell the story of Arn Magnusson, a Swedish nobleman, who spends his boyhood in a monastery, and surprisingly learns many skills there to prepare him to become skilled with swords and horsemanship. He becomes a Templar Knight in the Holy Lands as he is forced to serve a 20 year sentence of penance . He proves himself not only as a skillful fi ...more
Aug 29, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I loved this trilogy. I read early on from a reader that it wasn't about the crusades as much as it should have been, but I hadn't read it as that from the beginning. I had read it as the story of a man. I loved the story of this extraordinary and yet ordinary man. A humble man, who learnt his skills but never thought to boast about them, who always thought that there were others more skilled than him, and revered them.
This trilogy also gave me a perspective on the crusades that I had never con
Absolutely excellent! Jan Guillou has created a masterpiece in this trilogy, that blends fact and fiction into a simply amazing story. In the final installment, Arn returns home after 20 years in the Holy Land fighting as a Templar. He comes back a wealthy man, but promises made 20 decades ago by kinsmen seem to have been forgotten. Fortunately, Arn is steadfast and no one really wants to mess with the most badass dude in Scandanavia. He begins to create an army based on his experiences in the C ...more
L Holt
Sep 05, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I thoroughly enjoyed the first two books in this series: couldn’t wait to move on to the next one. However, this book, ”The Birth of the Kingdom” in the translation which I read, is the third and seemingly final book in the series, does not live up to the promise of the first two. The Birth of the Kingdom, at best, finishes the story of An Magnusson, the hero of the series, but, at worst, it degenerates into a pedantic preaching on the topic of power. How sad to have this book not live up to its ...more
Stephanie Thonesen Petersen
I love a good historical novel, and it was quite entertaining, however, I think the book lacked some nuances. It seemed like everything went just the way you wanted it for our main characters, everything was basically great the entire time. Actually, throughout the whole series, I did miss more nuances. Arn is purely good, does everything right, a very predictable character. The same could be said about his wife, Cecilia.
Mar 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
As the last of the trilogy Arn and Cecilia are finally married after over 20 years of penance. Arn builds up the defenses of the land in order to insure peace. He uses everything he learned as a night Knight Templar while also training the Noble youth's in the same manner.
This is the beginning of Sweden how it came to be
Paolo Calabrò
May 25, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
500 pages of nothing. No war, no battles, no intrigue, no plot even. Just a boring and dry recount of building walls and forging weapons and book keeping.
A complete and unsalvageable waste of time and money.
Dec 30, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: finnish
Enjoyable, fast-paced story loosely bound to history of Sweden.
Jun 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The End of the Line.

I didn’t find this book grabbed me quite as much as the first 2 of the trilogy. Having said that, they did set a very high standard, and this book was still very good and wonderfully crafted.
Jul 07, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Enjoyable, fast-paced story loosely bound to history of Sweden.
Monica Davis
4.5 stars. A very good series.
Marie Lundberg
Oct 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Scandinavian when is best
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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Goodreads Librari...: Combine 12 17 Apr 30, 2015 01:36PM  

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Jan Oscar Sverre Lucien Henri Guillou (born 17 January 1944) is a Swedish author and journalist. Among his books are a series of spy fiction novels about a spy named Carl Hamilton, and a trilogy of historical fiction novels about a Knight Templar, Arn Magnusson. He is the owner of one of the largest publishing companies in Sweden, Piratförlaget, together with Liza Marklund and his common-law wife, ...more

Other books in the series

The Crusades Trilogy (3 books)
  • The Road to Jerusalem (The Knight Templar, #1)
  • The Knight Templar (The Crusades Trilogy, #2)

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