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The Road to Jerusalem by Jan Guillou

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Born in 1150 to a noble family, Arn Magnusson comes of age in a monastery under the tutelage of a Cistercian prior and a former Knight Templar. Observing the boy's extraordinary talent with sword and bow, the monks, trusting in God's will, send their charge into the world to fulfill his destiny.

Beyond the monastery walls lies a whirlwind of intrigue as cunning lords vie for power. And, when Arn meets the lovely Cecilia, he discovers this dangerous world holds other surprises too. But before he can claim her hand, the headstrong and naive noble makes a fateful mistake that will wrench him from his love and send him to the Holy Land to battle infidels for twenty years.

The first book in the international bestselling Crusades Trilogy, this thrilling epic of betrayal, faith, blood and love sets "a Shakespearean quest for power" against the backdrop of the Holy Wars, witnessed through a vibrant, unorthodox lens.