By the time of the Third Crusade in 1189, two great warriors had emerged to lead their respective armies in the next phase of the Holy War. Saladin had run amok among the Christian territories, inflicting one defeat after another on the occupiers. In 1187, Saladin had seized back the ultimate prize, the Holy City of Jerusalem. Muslims across Palestine were overjoyed. Meanwhile, the death of his father Henry II catapulted Richard I to the head of the Crusader forces. All over Europe, rulers loudly proclaimed their intention to lead the great Crusade. In addition to the King of England, King Philip II of France joined the battle, as did the Holy Roman Emperor Frederick Barbarossa.
As a result, the Crusade would come to be known as the King’s Crusade. After a than auspicious start, with when Holy Roman Emperor Frederick Barbarossa of Germany drowned while crossing a river in Armenia, the Crusaders laid siege to Acre.
Having conquered the city of Acre, the Crusaders continued on their march, intent on seizing Jerusalem. The Crusades raged across Europe and the Middle East over four centuries, claiming some two million lives. Many hundreds of thousands of people from all walks of life took part in the Crusades, attracted by the Pope's offer of forgiveness for their sins in return for their efforts to conquer the Holy City, as well as a sense of adventure and a true desire to set foot in Jerusalem. However, several of the Crusades failed to acheive their stated goals, with the Crusaders often pillaged the cities and countries through which they traveled, and their leaders taking advantage of the situation to seize land and riches. The Crusades were also, however, a breeding ground for chivalry and heroism, with great warrior leaders such as Richard the Lionheart and Saladin emerging during the battles. The 'Crusades' series is a ten-part account of the Holy Wars that raged throughout the Medieval period. Each book gives a clear and concise account of the people and events that shaped the period, providing the reader with an entertaining and engaging narrative covering one of the most turbulent periods in world history.