By Liz Griffiths [email protected]
A book of epic journeys, The Siege and Conquest of Silves 1189: A Tale of the Third Crusade by an Anonymous Crusader, by Algarve resident Jonathan Wilson is out now in paperback.
The non-fiction masterpiece tells of two journeys, with the first beginning 820 years ago when a fleet of crusaders embark from Northern Germany heading for Jerusalem.
The second journey begins 648 years later, the year of Queen Victoria’s coronation, when an Italian academic discovers a mysterious codex in Aix-en-Provence in south-eastern France.
The book is the first to be released from a collection of five books from the author, who moved to the Algarve in 2000.
“I was working in Central London as a barrister and needed a new start,” Jonathan said. “I firstly moved to Spain but then moved onto Silves, all the time knowing I was going to write something historical. I was searching for a new project.”
This new project would be the mammoth task of translating an epic historical find, a Latin manuscript, Anonymous Codex of Aix, which was written by an anonymous crusader who went on the voyage of a lifetime travelling via England, France, Spain and the port of Lisbon.
This is where the crusaders agreed to a plea from Portuguese King Dom Sancho I to siege the city of Silves, a fortified Islamic City that was favourably rich and culturally diverse.
“The manuscript had only been translated into Portuguese before,” Jonathan explained. “Luckily I had the privilege of a public school education so I had a good grounding in Latin. The more of it I translated the more fascinating observations came through.”
The story of the voyage, where the German pilgrim tells tales of shocking and exciting observations, is enhanced for the reader by the detailed explanatory notes and photography by Jonathan and illustrations and maps by Ian Craig Shackleton.
“I was initially working alongside Silves Câmara in 2001 but I decided to withdraw it as I realized a greater body of research had to be done before publication,” Jonathan said.
“The book can be enjoyed by anyone who has an interest in the history of the Algarve or the crusades, the book has global appeal.”
The book is published by Jonathan’s publishing company, Mesquita Press. All five books will be released in staggered succession. The second book to be released will be The Conquest of the Algarve due out in March.
For more information, please visit
www.mesquita-press.com which is available in English.