The other half of my holiday fiction reading has been 'Eagle' by Jack Hight. This is the first of a trilogy about Saladin. Arguably one of greatest commanders the Middle East has seen.
This first volume starts from his childhood and covers his training and early life. His appointment as an Emir of a border garrison and his rise to fame in the service of Nur ad-Din, Sultan of Syria. This part of the story ends with Nur ad-Din's defeat by Baldwin of Jerusalem at Buthaia.
The author keeps fairly close to what little we know about Saladin's early life and the events of the period. The major variation is the insertion of a Saxon, John, who is captured at Damascus. He becomes Saladin's slave and then commander of his personal guard after saving his life.
Jack Hight is an excellent writer of historical fiction. I raved about his first book, Siege, based on the siege of Constantinople and this is just as good. Recommended.