About the Book
The story of Spain’s national hero, Rodrigo Díaz de Vivar (1043–1099), who helped liberate his nation from the Muslims, is retold in vivid detail in this superb work originally designed for younger readers—but easily readable for adults as well. It tells the inspiring story of the Castilian nobleman given the name “El Cid” (the Lord) by the Moors and “El Campeador” (the Champion) by the Europeans, and his decades-long war against the Islamic invaders of the Iberian Peninsula. Caught in the intrigue of the Middle Ages, El Cid was forced to wage war against Christian armies as well, but his real foe remained the ultimate enemy, as is so brilliantly explained in this work. His seizure of Valencia in 1094 established El Cid as a ruler in his own right, while his final years were spent in fighting the Almoravid Berbers. This is the real story of El Cid, divorced from the Hollywood myth, and serves as an important reminder of the price paid by medieval Europeans to resist the Islamic attempt to invade Europe. No brutal detail is spared in this sometimes shocking account of the wars waged by El Cid in his quest to liberate his part of Europe. “In spite of all the myths, it is beyond doubt that the real Rodrigo was one of the most wonderful men who has ever lived, and that he was the greatest warrior who fought in the long and fierce struggles between the Christians and the Mahometans.”—From the first chapter. Illustrated by J. W. Kennedy.