After committing a crime, French blacksmith Balian joins a group of Crusaders on their way to Jerusalem, including Balian's father Baron Godfrey. They are pursued and waylaid and Godfrey is injured during this taking a wound that eventually kills him before their arrival in Jerusalem.
On his deathbed Godfrey makes Balian swear he will serve the King of Jerusalem in Godfrey's place and Balian agrees. They continue the journey but while crossing the Mediterranean he is shipwrecked and eventually arrives in Jerusalem alone.
Once there he is cast into the palace intrigue. King Baldwin rules wisely but is drying of leprosy, the King's sister and her husband are plotting with the Knights Templar to get rid of the Muslim powers.
Balian serves the king as best he can, attempting to broker peace with the suspicious Muslim rulers while also fending off the various attacks and intrigues of the Templars. But with Baldwin losing his battle with his disease the Christian occupation of Jerusalem looks about to come to an end.
Best part of story, including ending:
It's set in a period of history rarely seen in films.
Best scene in story:
The battle for Jerusalem is epic.
Opinion about the main character:
Balian is a good flawed protagonist, and believable as a medieval personality.