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Birth of the Kingdom by Jan Guillou

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Exiled from his home and the woman he loves, Arn de Gotha became one of the fiercest and most feared warriors of the Knights Templar. But now that Jerusalem has been lost to the man who saved him - his longtime enemy and trusted friend Saladin - the weary nobleman, ravaged by wounds and illness, can finally return to his beloved Sweden.

During his twenty years of exile, warring clans have torn apart Arn's homeland. Determined to unite it under the Folkung lineage and establish lasting peace, he sets off with a band of skilled craftsmen and doctors from the Holy Land whose talents and knowledge are unknown to the northern world. And waiting for him is his beloved Cecilia. Arn can only pray that their love has endured, and that is can sustain a new quest: to create new people, a new society, both Christian and Muslim, craftsmen and warriors - with Arn at its helm.

A rousing, satisfying conclusion to an unforgettable and original epic, Birth of the Kingdom tells the story of a warrior's trans-formative journey, and of the love that founded a nation.