“Bordihn’s scrupulously researched debut brims with drama, passion and personalities ranging from the scandalous to the sublime. . . . Bordihn renders vivid descriptions of the medieval era . . . in this engrossing account of a legendary ruler both revered and reviled.” Publishers Weekly
The Falcon of Palermo
978-0-8021-4232-0 • $15.00 • Paperback • Mar. 2006
A lively, meticulously researched historical novel that brings to life the thirteenth century and the brilliant and controversial Holy Roman Emperor Frederick II
The Falcon of Palermo opens with the nations of modern Europe just beginning to take shape, while the papacy clings to its temporal power. Into this era of shifting borders and alliances steps a leader who will become legendarythe brilliant maverick Frederick II.
Emperor Henry of Hohenstaufen summons his pregnant wife, Queen Constance, to the Kingdom of Sicily to quell a rebellion. On her way to Palermo, early labor forces Constance to have her long-awaited heir, Frederick, in the market of a small Italian town. Orphaned by age four, young Frederick becomes neglected, running among the urchins in the Muslim quarter, while Sicily is overrun by German warlords.
The pope sends Archbishop Berard to restore order. Gradually, the gifted boy and the warmhearted archbishop develop a deep bond. Fluent in Arabic and strongly influenced by Muslim culture, Frederick aims to return Sicily to her former glory. However, when elected Holy Roman Emperor in a surprise move by the German princes, his vision grows. Nothing will ever be the same. He doesn’t turn out to be the puppet they’d hoped for. Once established as the unchallenged ruler, Frederick tirelessly works to create an empire equal to that of Rome.
Marked by his titanic struggle with the papacy for the domination of Europe, as well by glorious feats in battle, his recapturing of the Holy Land, his far-ranging intellect, his falconry, and the passions that led him to several wives and countless mistresses, as well as one enduring love, Frederick’s life gives a fascinating glimpse into this pivotal period of medieval history. The Falcon of Palermo focuses on a man whose towering personality laid the seeds for the Reformation and the foundation of modern Europe.