A Horde of Fools

In the year 1095 Pope Urban II delivers his incendiary plea to the knights of Europe to recapture Jerusalem and the Holy Land from the Seljuk Turks and Islam. In response, and against the pope’s wishes,  wild-eyed evangelist Peter the Hermit (known also as Kuku Peter) inflames the pauper hordes of Europe, raising a violent peasant army of 30,000 men, women, children and elderly intent on recapturing Jerusalem from Islam. Untrained, armed only with shovels, staffs and pitch-forks as weapons, lacking provisions, this ragtag mob scorches a path across Europe and into the Byzantine Empire, leaving behind a horrid trail of intolerance and destruction while attacking Jews, Hungarians, Bulgarians, Greeks and anyone else obstructing their path.

Young Bishop Tristan de Saint-Germain is sent by the Pope to stop Kuku Peter’s ‘march of madness,’ but unsuccessful in this effort, ends by trailing it all the way to Constantinople. Arriving there, he unexpectedly discovers beautiful Mala the Romani awaiting him, still hoping to pull him from the grasp of Pope Urban and the Vatican; they met as children, fell in love as adolescents, and she bore his son though Tristan was a Benedictine monk destined to rise to the very pinnacle of the Vatican.

As their heart-breaking, obsessive past unearths itself while promising resurrection, the very future of Christendom hangs in the balance as Kuku Peter’s renegade army tramps into the Sultanate of Rüm… and history. Clinging to each other in defiant desperation, driven by hope and an illicit love forbidden by the Church, Tristan and Mala struggle to survive the raging currents of race, war, and faith as humanity approaches the greatest cultural war of all time… the Holy Crusades.

Historical fiction erupts with color, intrigue, poignant emotion and precise historical accuracy  in Robert E. Hirsch’s third novel of his epic five novel series: The Dark Ages Saga of Tristan de Saint-Germain. Preceded by Promise of the Black Monks and Hammer of God, A Horde of Fools continues the gripping story of an abandoned French boy destined to become an intellectual prodigy for the Benedictine Order and the Vatican. After becoming a monk, Tristan first spies for the secretive and violent Benedictine Underground, then advances to Archbishop of Ostia and First Counsel to the Pope. Still, his unbridled heart is secretly tethered to Mala the Romani… as is his true destiny.