The Emperor Strikes Back: Frederick II’s War Against His Vassals


Helena P. Schrader is the winner of eighteen literary awards, including Best Biography, 2017, and Best Christian Historical Fiction, 2017. The first book in this series, Rebels against Tyranny, won “Silver” (second place) for Historical Fiction in the 2019 Feathered Quill Book Awards and was a finalist for the Chaucer Award for Early Historical Fiction, 2018, as well as earning a B.R.A.G. Medallion. She holds a PhD in History from the University of Hamburg and is the author of several nonfiction books. Her current nonfiction project is a textbook designed to bring together recent scholarship on the Latin East into a single volume aimed at undergraduates and non-academics. For more information about her publications and awards visit:

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Emperor Frederick II has re-established Christian control of Jerusalem, but the Sultan brags that he will “purify” the Holy City and drive the Christians out as soon as the ten-year truce expires. The common people of the Holy Land show their contempt for the Emperor and his treaty by pelting him with offal, while the barons resist Frederick’s absolutism and demand rule of law. Filled with resentment and bitterness toward his impertinent subjects, the Emperor vows to destroy the family that embodies the independent spirit of Outremer: the Ibelins.

While the Emperor’s deputies will stop at nothing to fulfill their orders, the Ibelins must gain allies at almost any cost. Yet with the Pope now on the side of the Emperor, Balian’s marriage becomes a spiritual weapon turned against his father.