Mr. Duggan was a popular author of Medieval and Roman history, and historical-fiction. "Knight With Armor" was his first novel. Mr. Duggan actually visited the sites of every battle in this tale.
This is the tale of Roger de Bodeham, a poor Norman knight from a minor noble family in southern England. Roger comes from Sussex, not far from Hastings, where his elderly father was part of the Norman invasion of 1066. Being the junior son, Roger's prospects are rather limited, as things stand in England of the late 1090s. When news of the First Crusade circulates to his obscure corner of Christendom, Roger decides to try his luck in this vast undertaking.
With only minimal training in mounted combat, and no battle-experience, Roger goes forth on a war-horse well past its prime, wearing his father's handed down mail-armor. A dismal, plodding campaign of three years awaits him, as the army of the Crusade treks across Europe, Asia Minor, and finally, The Holy Land. Roger's luck and prospects get worse as the years drag on, from one siege to another. He manages to find a wife along the way, ...who ultimately proves to be more throuble than she is worth.
Morale is abyssmal amongst the polyglot factions and nationalities who march to Jerusalem. For much of the journey, the army is in a constant state of near disintegration, as the various factions are tempted to defect and exploit better prosepects along the way. Illness claims more casualties than actual battle, as the muslim adversaries prove to be rather unimpressive combatants. The muslims are still a serious tactical and strategic threat, however, as they are fighting on home territory, ...and in much larger numbers with logistical support close at hand.
This is the tale of the average participant in the First Crusade. Those who had little or nothing at home, assembled what minor resources they could, and went forth on what was supposedly a Holy Misson. Whether they were nobility, or peasants who knew only stagnant misery and poverty in Europe, ...they all found starvation, disease, squalor and death along the way. Of those who survived the Crusade, some found the wealth and opportunity they had hoped for, but at the expense of the citizens of Jerusalem, who were ruthlessly slaughtered and looted. Most Crusaders, of all ranks, won very little for their suffering.