Blog Book Tour | “Taking the Cross” by Charles Gibson a #histfic of epic historical impact in regard of the Crusades

Posted Monday, 20 October, 2014 by jorielov , , , 3 Comments

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Taking the Cross by Charles Gibson

Published By: Köehler Books (@)
Official Author Websites:  Site @_CharlesGibson| Facebook

Available Formats: Paperback, Ebook

Converse via: #TakingTheCross & #FranceBT

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Acquired Book By: I was selected to be a tour stop on the “Taking the Cross” virtual book tour through France Book Tours. I received a complimentary copy of the book direct from the author Charles Gibson, in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Blog Book Tour | “Taking the Cross” by Charles Gibson a #histfic of epic historical impact in regard of the CrusadesTaking the Cross
by Charles Gibson
Source: Author via Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours

Taking the Cross is a historical novel by Charles Gibson about the little-known crusade launched by the Roman Catholic Church against fellow Christians in France, a time of great religious turmoil and conflict.

In the Middle Ages not all crusades were fought in the Holy Land. A two-pronged threat to the Catholic Church was growing within Christendom itself and Pope Innocent III called for the crusade against heresy to eliminate both the Albigenses and Valdenses, two movements that did not adhere to Church orthodoxy.

Andreas, a knight who longs to go on crusade to the Holy Land, finds himself fighting against one in his French homeland. While Andreas wages war for the lives and religious freedom of his people, a battle rages within his soul.

Eva, a young woman of a new religious order, the Beguines, discovers a secret message within a letter about the death of her father in the Holy Land. As she learns more of her father, she is forced to confront the profound and perilous spiritual inheritance he has bequeathed to her. A legacy for which she must fight.

Hearing of the feats of Andreas, Eva senses her inheritance may lead her to him.

Filled with battles of the flesh and the spirit, Taking the Cross reveals a passionate aspect of Medieval times where some fought ardently for the freedom of others.

Content Warning for Readers: some medieval warfare violence

Places to find the book:

Also by this author:

Series: Taking the Cross,


Also in this series:


Genres: Historical Fiction, Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction, Military Fiction


Published by Köehler Books

on 1st October, 2014

Format: Paperback

Pages: 269

About the Author:

Charles Gibson

Charles Gibson first started reading about history and geography when he was seven. He wrote his first short story at the age of nine. He continues to read and write whenever he can. Charles has spent many years researching the Middle Ages and the Crusades, and has traveled to the Languedoc region in France. He has combined the passions of history and geography and prose to finish his first novel, Taking the Cross. It takes place during the summer of 1209 in France. Charles Gibson has previously written for the inspirational book series God Allows U-Turns as well as for a Minnesota newspaper. He also works as a project manager for a medical device company. He also loves travel writing, and would like to start his own magazine some day about travel as a journey through life. The dominant theme of his writing is freedom.
“It was for freedom that Christ set us free;
therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery.”
He lives in Minnesota with his lovely wife and energetic sons.

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Reflections on the Crusades:

War is always a brutal affair, but the Crusades always felt anguished a bit more fiercely to me than most battles forged and fought prior to their beginning and long since after they were quelled. The Crusades were layered with rife – a history of existence that set them apart for their breadth and depth of importance, yet what I always felt at the heart of the Crusades that had fallen a bit out of view were the people who lived through them. The people whose battle cries might never have been heard, as so very few of the commoners were able to survive the brutal surges of where the knights and the armies had gathered together to fight for what each side of the warring factions felt were the reasons for the engagements themselves. Each side was just as fiercely loyal in their approach and in their reasons for fighting that the ability to unravel where everyone stood and why they fought for what they believed in must have been an incredible archive of knowledge for those who transcribed the Crusades originally! I could not even put to thought how many hours it would have taken to go over the testimonies left behind nor the oral histories mixed into the journals. The original historians and scholars who unearthed the particulars will forever have my gratitude and mark of appreciation, as they left behind a tome of insight and a lot of unanswered questions.

I was always a bit curious to seek out the stories of the everyday citizens who were caught betwixt and between the Crusades themselves, as much as I oft wondered how the battles during the Civil War must have had repercussions for those who lived so close to where the individual battles were fought, won, or lost. War has a lot of layers threaded through it and the humanity of who was caught in it’s sight were always a keen interest of mine to research.

My Review of Taking the Cross:

Gibson doesn’t back down from arriving the reader straight into the heart of the battle of where this particular story alights during the Crusades of the 13th Century. An ordinary road in the Languedoc region of France has become a battle-scared visage of the reality of a young knight’s life of attempting to not only fight for his people’s religious freedom but to draw out a measure of honour whilst creating a life in service to his countrymen. We meet Andreas in full arrogance of not understanding his Viscount’s interest in the refugees who are on the road to escape further persecution and attack from the outsiders. What Andreas perceives as wasted time, his leader views as a measure of mercy to those under his guidance and rule; inasmuch as an opportune exchange of information that could become necessary to have lateron.

The section where Eva is first introduced to us, is one of my favourites, as we see her as a woman of twenty before her thoughts and re-collective memories take a stronghold in the text. From thence we find her as a young girl of ten, of whom is listening to her Mum tell her about the Beguine community as much as the benefits of being a Beguine woman can have in the age of where women had less freedom than they do today. Old English words and French words are interspersed throughout the story, but none of them are intrusive nor distracting to the reading Taking the Cross as I give full credit to Gibson for utiltising their inclusions in such a natural way of understanding their meanings. When Eva disclosed her visions and her second sight starting to emerge out of anguished sorrow, I felt a murmuring of Hildegard echoing through my heart.

Eva’s character for me was the channeling center of the story, as her path in life was quite a unique one to step into as she was given certain gifts which afforded her a great purpose throughout Taking the Cross. Each step of the way, as we unlock hidden glimpses of her patronage and settle inside the ruminations of her own heart, soul, and spirit, we start to acknowledge that she has been given an enlightenment of knowledge not always etched onto a person of her birth. Eva’s courage and her fortitude to rustle out information that gave keener insight to unravell a bit of the puzzling circumstances her region was undergoing provided a bit of foreshadow as much as intrigue. Eva’s best gift as a character is giving the reader a way into the soul of the story itself — to ground us in the suspense and the tentacles of unlocking where this part of history has such a hard time in asserting it’s voice.

The usage of honeybees in the undercurrent context of warfare and alertness towards a humming awareness of how an attack can come without warning was a bit of cleverness on the part of Gibson. I have a fondness for bees myself, but evenso, I know they can be used against their natural will to effectively mark terror on those who would never suspect a bee could do more harm than good. The method in which the bee’s are used is a viable option as most of what is considered medicinal can be turnt against us if darkness erodes through the light. Another vein of the intellectual mystery that acts like a shroud over the characters caught in the web of both deceit and war.

There is a pursuit within this novel that is not entirely circumvented by the turnt of the last page, as this is meant to be the first jaunt of a series forthcoming — yet within the chapters of what is revealed is a daunting task to undertake a challenge of shielding the world from a great darkness that never should be unleashed or contained. There are many elements of what could be viewed as paranormal activity threaded throughout the story, but they go to a greater cause to not only alarm the reader of what was at stake during this particular Crusade but what this Crusade might have been on the throes of uncovering. Not everything that is once lost is lost to time nor can everything that becomes lost be in need of finding. Gibson gives his readers a taut eclipse of a narrative that begs you to delve further into his next writings in order to glimpse the full scope of what he is giving us to read. This is an incredible debut novel because the suspense continues to heighten and pull you deeper behind the veil of what you once thought the story was writ about rather than what is starting to become revealed at it’s conclusion.

On the historical artifact styling of Charles Gibson:

By saying ‘historical artifact’ of a style on behalf of a historical fiction writer, in this particular sense I am referring to the fact that Gibson has a singular passion for the historical past (especially in regards to the Medieval era), and picking up his tome of work is like uncovering a historical artifact at an archaeological and anthropological dig! The way in which he has the keen insight to etch in the facts concurrent with the narrative pacing of his story allows the reader to settle inside this oft overlooked era of intriguing history and become quite attached to where his muse is leading him to take his readership! It is a difficult balance to achieve, because the Crusades are heavily writ about throughout historical fiction (across mainstream & inspirational markets of literature as much as across platforms of major trade & indie releases) — yet, I found a truly original voice in Gibson’s style reflective of his passion for freedom for all people and in all ways freedom is not only necessary but an innate right of everyone to have in their life. This is the second author who pens a style of historical fact into historical fiction on an era of history that is lit aflame with realism. The first author (George Steger) penned: Sebastian’s Way: the Pathfinder, another very unique find that breathes a lot light out of darkness inside it’s story.

Although there are instances of war visuals inside this early chapter of the novel, I cannot say that Gibson crossed the line as far as what I can handle or not handle as far as what a war drama would include inside’s sleeves. He sharpens the bow of imagery just enough to give you the full experience of being on the ground where the knights are engaged, but he doesn’t bridge that gap with full-on imagery that would be too horrific to read. In this, I appreciate his dexterity and exclusion! I was also thankful that I had read Citadel prior to Taking the Cross in order to have an understanding for the region in which the story is set. Two different war dramas during two pivotal times in history centuries apart, and yet, the fight for freedom remained ever present.

I shall have to keep vigilant in knowing when the second novel of this series is released!

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Virtual Road Map for “Taking the Cross” Blog Tour:

Taking the Cross Virtual Book Tour via France Book Tours

I will be featuring an Author Interview with Charles Gibson on the tour in forthcoming days!
Be sure to scope out upcoming tours I will be hosting with:

France Book Tours

 on my Bookish Events page!

Please take note of the Related Articles as they were hand selected due to being of cross-reference importance in relation to this book review. This applies to each post on my blog where you see Related Articles underneath the post. Be sure to take a moment to acknowledge the further readings which are offered.

I positively *love!* comments in the threads below each of my posts, kindly know that I appreciate each thought you want to share with me and all the posts on my blog are open to new comments & commentary! Short or long, I appreciate the time you spent to leave behind a note of your visit! Return again soon!
{SOURCES: Cover art of “Taking the Cross”, book synopsis, author photograph of Charles Gibson, author biography, and the tour host badge were all provided by France Book Tours and used with permission. Blog Tour badge provided by Parajunkee to give book bloggers definition on their blogs. Tweets were able to be embedded by the codes provided by Twitter. Post dividers by Fun Stuff for Your Blog via Pure Imagination. France Book Tours badge created by Jorie in Canva.}

Copyright © Jorie Loves A Story, 2014.

Related Articles:

Beguines – (charlesgibson.net)

Join the Quest – (charlesgibson.net)

The Languedoc & Provence – (charlesgibson.net)

Heretics – (charlesgibson.net)

Tweets in regards to “Taking the Cross”:

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About jorielov

I am self-educated through local libraries and alternative education opportunities. I am a writer by trade and I cured a ten-year writer’s block by the discovery of Nanowrimo in November 2008. The event changed my life by re-establishing my muse and solidifying my path. Five years later whilst exploring the bookish blogosphere I decided to become a book blogger. I am a champion of wordsmiths who evoke a visceral experience in narrative. I write comprehensive book showcases electing to get into the heart of my reading observations. I dance through genres seeking literary enlightenment and enchantment. Starting in Autumn 2013 I became a blog book tour hostess featuring books and authors. I joined The Classics Club in January 2014 to seek out appreciators of the timeless works of literature whose breadth of scope and voice resonate with us all. "I write my heart out and own my writing after it has spilt out of the pen." - self quote (Jorie of Jorie Loves A Story) more >> | Hire me as a betareader | Policies & Review Requests

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

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Posted Monday, 20 October, 2014 by jorielov in 13th Century, Animals in Fiction & Non-Fiction, Balance of Faith whilst Living, Beguine, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Book for University Study, Bookish Discussions, Castles & Estates, Christianity, Cultural & Religious Traditions, Death, Sorrow, and Loss, Debut Author, Debut Novel, Flashbacks & Recollective Memories, France, France Book Tours, French Literature, Good vs. Evil, Historical Fiction, Historical Perspectives, Honeybees, Indie Author, Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction, Life Shift, Light vs Dark, Military Fiction, Passionate Researcher, Premonition-Precognitive Visions, Religious History, Religious Orders, The Crusades, War Drama, Warfare & Power Realignment, World Religions

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3 responses to “Blog Book Tour | “Taking the Cross” by Charles Gibson a #histfic of epic historical impact in regard of the Crusades

    • Hallo Ms Emma,

      I was thrilled to know there is a sequel already in the finishing stages of being released! Would be quite awesome if the author went on tour with France Book Tours again! :)

      • Jorie,

        Thanks for your great and comprehensive review of Taking the Cross and kind words. I definitely plan to go on with France Book Tours with the next Taking the Cross novel. I would try to line up the tour to coincide with my book release again!

        Regards,

        Charles Gibson

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