Quest for the True Cross

Quest for the True Cross
Quest For The True Cross by Tony McMahon

Now available in paperback and kindle on Amazon!

Tormented nightly by a diabolic creature, William de Mandeville is constantly confronted with his failings as a warrior. In spite of his once impressive battle record, he has succumbed to a madness brought on by seeing friends and fellow knights slain by Saracen scimitars.

Upon the Templar knight’s return to England after being invalided out of the Crusades, he discovers that his father and elder brother have disgraced the family name. His father has come to an ignominious end while his brother tortures and taxes the serfs on their domains. William finds his family detested and dishonoured. He alone can restore honour. But it will take a life threatening quest to achieve that goal.

When William hears that Saracens have stolen the holy cross upon which Christ was crucified, he knows what he must do – even if it means braving the bloody battles once more. The quest is one that will take him across Europe to a crusade at its westernmost tip where Saracens and Crusaders are fighting over the mighty city of Al-Usbuna. Within its formidable walls, lies the True Cross – hidden away. If William can retrieve this sacred treasure, he will win back the respect of his fellow Templars, clear his family name and be able to bury his father with honour and dignity.

Quest for the True Cross by Tony McMahon is a gripping adventure, grounded in the horrors of twelfth-century history and enlivened with an honourable man’s struggle to do right amid the chaos of wrong. It is medieval quest with many themes that ring true in our town time.

Click HERE to buy it on Amazon. Published in Europe by Bertlesmann through its Euromedia imprint in hardback and paperback.


tony McMahon
quest for the true cross - author and publisher

Author of the Templar seriesContact Tony McMahon for interviews or comments at

Tony McMahon is a London based author, former BBC producer and history buff.

Three years of solid research and visiting all the relevant historical sites helped shape a gritty and harrowing account of one Templar Knight’s quest in the Middle Ages.

This is a fascinating and unique insight for the reader into the violence and mayhem of twelfth century Europe – prepare for a medieval roller-coaster ride!

Previous books by Tony McMahon have included a no-holds-barred biography of boxing champion Errol Christie – No Place To Hide (published by Aurum Press) – which was short-listed for the best sports biography of 2011. It was also long-listed for the prestigious William Hill prize.

He also wrote the biography of Neville Staple, Original Rude Boy (published by Aurum Press), the vocalist in 1980s legendary 2Tone band The Specials. This book was well received by fans of The Specials as the band reformed in 2009.

Quest for the True Cross has already been published in Europe by Bertelsmann (under its Euromedia imprint) to very positive reviews and bumper sales. It came out in hardback in 2014 and paperback in 2015 as part of a Christmas launch. It is sold in the Czech Republic under the title Soumrak Templářů (Twilight of the Templars). Now, for the first time, it is available in English for readers in the United Kingdom, United States, Australia and New Zealand.

Errol Christie
No Place To Hide – the biography of boxer Errol Christie – was short-listed for best sports biography of 2011

In September, 2016, Saqi Books will publish The Battle for British Islam – a non-fiction book looking at the current state of Islam in the UK co-authored with Sara Khan.


Available for media and blog interviews at:


Murder in Edessa


Quest for the True Cross begins with a grisly murder in a church. Two unscrupulous thieves are spiriting away the True Cross from the Syrian city of Edessa – which kicks off a thrilling hunt to retrieve it. The following is an excerpt from Quest for the True Cross by Tony McMahon, now available in paperback on Amazon


medieval murderTemplar church,


The priest clasped at his assailant’s tunic as he struggled for air. Besnik lessened the pressure on the old man’s windpipe yet his grimy hands remained firmly round Father’s Jean’s neck, leaving unsightly purple bruises.

“You should have found a linen box to crawl into and hide,” the Romani mercenary cackled.

“I beg you not to do this, my son,” the priest gasped.

“I’m not your son.”

Death medievalThis cannot be how I meet my end, Father Jean thought. Surely this creature is capable of some decency. Nobody can be devoid of all compassion. If I can only find some common ground between us, I will see the sun rise tomorrow.

“We are … we are both men of the book. Children of Abraham.” Father Jean took a faltering breath. “Only our view of His Son truly divides us.”

His assailant was unmoved.

“I’m neither Saracen nor Frank,” Besnik sneered at the priest. “Don’t waste words about your useless God on me.”

Time was marching against Besnik and his accomplice Giyassedin. Outside the city was falling to the Seljuk Turks. An immense Saracen wave had crashed over the seemingly impenetrable fortifications. The Christian forces had been scattered and their control of this great Syrian city was very much at an end. It wouldn’t be long before the Turks found this church and ranksacked its riches. The two thieves had to work fast. Besnik’s hand gripped Father Jean’s throat once more. The Romani derived a sadistic thrill from tightening his fingers around his victim’s windpipe. The priest grabbed at the mercenary’s hand but it was locked in position and squeezing. He lifted Father Jean off his feet, the priest kicking at Besnik in a futile defence.

“I … I … I … know … nothing …”

medieval deathHis hold was so tight that the cartilage in Father Jean’s throat crackled. Eyes bulging and face reddened, the black-robed cleric writhed as Besnik calmly and methodically throttled him.

“I told you he wouldn’t talk,” Giyassedin observed from the side of the altar in a matter-of-fact way. “He’d rather die than tell us.”

Besnik dropped the priest in a heap on the floor. His patience had worn thin. He resumed beating the old man with his fists. Blow after blow rained down on the cleric’s bloodied face. Feebly, the old man raised a hand to defend himself but Besnik pushed it away. A strong punch closed the priest’s left eye as he groaned for this brutal torture to cease.

“Where is it?” Besnik yelled at Father Jean.

“I … I cannot … I must not say.”

The mercenary drew his dagger from its leather sheath and grabbing the priest by the few grey hairs on his head, severed an ear with one rapid slicing action. Father Jean clasped his head and screamed. Besnik repeated the question.

medieval killing“Where … is … it?”

His senses dulled by agony, the priest involuntarily allowed his one good eye to dart leftwards for the briefest instant. That was enough for Besnik. He now knew where to find the treasure that he and his accomplice sought. Leaving Father Jean in a pained heap on the flagstone floor, he moved over to the stone pulpit.

“Help me move this,” he barked at Giyassedin.

“Are you sure?”


The two thieves pushed at the block of stone surmounted by a carving of an eagle, the symbol of John the Apostle. With a grinding sound, the pulpit yielded its secret inch by inch. Beneath it was a crudely dug hole in the floor. Besnik thrust a flaming torch into the darkness, revealing a small hill of human bones. A skull stared back mournfully at the mercenary.

“Good,” Besnik announced.

Father Jean looked on in horror.

“What have I done?” The priest wept on his knees, too weak to stand.

Father Jean had never wanted to be a martyr – that was for braver and saintly men. But this creature had no God, he was sure of that.

“Kill me! In God’s name … kill me,” he whispered.

Convulsing in agony, the priest looked up at Besnik. Scum of Christendom! The lowest of God’s creatures! One of that accursed race of men who had fashioned the very nails driven into the hands of Christ in return for base coin. Everybody knew of the perfidy of the Romani people, stealers of bibles and relics, friendless and condemned to wander the earth. And he had delivered up a great Templar treasure to this devil. Those great knights of the Temple of Jerusalem will never forgive me.

“You – you dog!” the priest spat. “You’re more vile than a Saracen!”

Besnik grabbed the cleric’s chin, shoved it back and ran his sharp dagger blade across Father Jean’s throat as if he were killing a pig on market day. A crimson jet spurted out across the grey flagstones. In the warm evening air, the blood soon congealed around the prone body.



Discover the Middle Ages! is Tony McMahon’s blog on the Knights Templar and the Middle Ages that has thousands of followers and over quarter of a million hits. It covers every aspect of this fascinating period of history that you will want to know about. So not only can you follow the adventures of Sir William de Mandeville in Quest for the True Cross – but you can also go on to the blog and find out everything about the Templar period in history.

  • Who were the Templars in the Middle Ages and where can you find Templars today?
  • What are the best movies about the medieval period?
  • Why were the Templars persecuted and eventually destroyed?
  • Is there a link between the Knights Templar and Freemasonry?
  • What were the rituals of this mysterious order?
  • Was there any truth in the many scandalous allegations made about the knights?

Join the blog today and become an expert on the medieval history of the Knights Templar!


Tony McMahon book reviews

Tony McMahon is no stranger to having his books reviewed in the media – and is a former print journalist and BBC news producer himself. Here are some of the reviews that have been published for his other published books.


Errol ChristieNO PLACE TO HIDE – Errol Christie and Tony McMahon. Published by Aurum Press

A bitter, poignant evocation of a time when to be black in a British ring…was to be taken for a devil. (The Observer)

This biography of middleweight boxing champion Errol Christie was short-listed for the best sports biography of 2011 and long-listed for the William Hill prize. It received full page reviews in The Guardian and in The Independent as well as interviews on BBC and Sky News. The book was mentioned in the Daily Mail and The Sun.  The foreword to No Place To Hide was written by BBC boxing presenter Steve Bunce.

Original Rude BoyORIGINAL RUDE BOY – Neville Staple and Tony McMahon. Published by Aurum Press

Fascinating but harrowing (Mojo)

Neville Staple, vocalist in legendary 80s combo The Specials, opened up in this biography detailing his tough upbringing in Coventry through to global pop fame. The book was reviewed in the UK media with TV and press interviews. Record producer and television presenter Pete Waterman wrote the introduction to the book.

Here is a book signing in 2014 at Somerset House in London, UK.

A Knight Templar adventure set in the 12th century

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