Queens of Jerusalem: The Women Who Dared to Rule by Katherine Pangonis


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The year is 1187 and Saladin’s armies are besieging the holy city of Jerusalem. He has previously annihilated Jerusalem’s army at the battle of Hattin: it is only a matter of time until the city will fall. Inside, a last-ditch defence is being led by an unlikely trio: the leader of the church, a single Lord named Balian of Ibelin, and Sibylla, Queen of Jerusalem. Sibylla’s husband is Saladin’s captive, and for many months now she has witnessed her kingdom slowly crumbling. This siege is her last chance to save her kingdom, or at least her people. Queen Sibylla cuts a mysterious and forlorn figure in the chronicles of this period. She was the last in a long line of formidable female rulers to rule in Outremer before the fall of Jerusalem. Yet for all the many books written about the crusades and Christian states of Outremer, one thing is conspicuously absent: the stories of women.