It' s the eleventh century and Islam, born from the sands of the Arabian Desert, has spread from Syria to Spain. Muslims now rule a large part of what was once the Roman Empire. Eude de Châtillon, a monk at the monastery of Cluny, France, does not like what he sees. He leads expeditions to free Spain from its Muslim rulers. When he becomes Pope Urban II, he urges good Christians everywhere to free Jerusalem, and so the crusades begin.As pope, however, he is not able to lead the fight, so he gives authority to Peter the Hermit, a popular priest. At Peter's bidding, thousands of peasants join the crusade, which was named "The Popular Crusade."Fierce battles are fought throughout Spain, the Holy Land, and elsewhere as Christians and Muslims compete for power. The repercussions of this historic struggle are still evident today in the continued fighting in the Middle East; Muslim attitudes about the Western world and memories of the September 11 attacks.Knights of the Cross is the complete report of all the Crusades and a must-read for anyone struggling to understand how religious conflicts of the past have shaped the world today.