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Crusaders by Richard T Kelly
Crusaders is set in the Newcastle area in 1996 in the days before Tony Blair's ascension to the top of the political ladder. John Gore is a clergyman who comes to a blighted Newcastle suburb to start a new church and bring some hope and salvation to its citizens. He has some initial success, but his interactions with some of the locals threaten to undo his work. He meets Stevie Coulson, who takes a liking to him. Stevie is a "security consultant" who is also a gangster. Gore becomes involved with Lindy Clark, an attractive single mother who works for Stevie. Gore also meets Martin Pallister, an MP who had been a left-wing firebrand and who has now sacrificed his principles for financial reward. Richard T Kelly tells the back story of all these characters and how their lives came to be intertwined in an era of change. Crusaders has received mostly positive reviews with the London Times saying, "For all the geographical focus, this is a novel ultimately about faith and morals - morals upheld, morals compromised, morals abandoned - and Kelly's complex and sophisticated handling of this theme ensures that the reader remains involved until the last page of this long but rewarding book."