a difficult slog. really no different from Fu Manchu, other than the fact that the title character was much less competent.
the "nefarious" plot involves kidnapping important Europeans and taking them to China. The scorpion is constantly betrayed by his loyal followers. the only fun character is the French detective Gaston Max. Everyone else is boring and one dimentional
the good points:
A decent retelling of Louis IX's crusade to Egypt, it handles the famous characters well, even giving background on the saracen leaders. reads like a textbook at times.
the bad: one diementional protagonists, one is happy, the other morose and thats about it.
spends far too much time trying to make the English look good and the French bad. Hard to do in truth when your main subject is the irreproachable warrior Saint King who happens to be French. If the author could have got off this bigoted nationalism long enough to put more effort into the story it could have been a great novel rather than average
A relatively short factual history of the knights. just the facts.
A fairly Average read. Follows a young Englishman in the train of the King of France with a focus on Eleanor. The reason for his crusade is a particularly foul bit of betrayal. It can get bogged down in descriptive language at times. Worth your time if you are interested in the time period.