The Iron Lance (Celtic Crusades S) BOOK1

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9780006483212: The Iron Lance (Celtic Crusades S) BOOK1

First of an exciting new trilogy from the author of Byzantium, The Iron Lance is set at the time of the first Crusade in 1099.

Amidst visions of the ancient past, a 19th century Scottish lawyer glimpses the harrowing pilgrimage of an ancestor…

In the year 1095, Pope Urban II declares war on the infidel. Kings, princes, and lords throughout Europe take up the cross and rush to join the Crusade.

Murdo Ranulfson is left behind to guard his family’s interests in the remote Orkney Isles while his father and brothers join the fight to win Jerusalem. But when all the family’s lands and possessions are confiscated, Murdo follows the Crusade with the hope of finding his father and redeeming their land.
His epic journey leads him to the heart of the civilized world, where the Emperor Alexius and the Lords of the West are engaged in a battle of wills that threatens the survival of the Holy Roman Empire.
Steeped in heroism, treachery and the clamour of battle, The Iron Lance begins an epic trilogy of a Scottish family fighting for its existence and its faith during the age of the Great Crusades.

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Review:

Stephen Lawhead is best known for his "Pendragon Cycle" of Arthurian fantasies. His previous novel Byzantium moved him into historical rather than mythological fiction; The Iron Lance confirms this change. It is the story of the First Crusade told by a youth from the Orkneys, a group of islands off the north coast of Scotland.

At 14 Murdo Ranulfson is too young to go on a crusade. But when he and his mother are thrown off their own land by soldiers of Prince Sigurd of Norway, who has claimed the Orkneys, Murdo travels to the Holy Land to fetch back his father and brothers to reclaim their land. He witnesses at first hand the horrors of the Crusade, particularly what Lawhead calls "the rape of Jerusalem".

In common with Lawhead's earlier works there is a strong Christian element to the story, but here the emphasis is on the spirituality of the Celtic monks Célé Dé contrasting with the venality of the Catholic Church of the time. The main story is framed in the late-19th century narrative of a secret religious order descended from the monks, and from Murdo. This is a powerful and well-told story. Lawhead brilliantly captures better than most American writers what feels like the true essence of medieval Britain and Europe. --David V. Barrett

Review:

Praise for Byzantium:

‘Fantasy writing doesn’t get much better than this’
The Express

‘This is a rip-roaring adventure story; the pace rarely flags. There’s scheming, murder and betrayal aplenty’
Interzone

‘Amusing and interesting’
Locus

‘A vivid historical setting and a credible and satisfying plot’
Publishing News

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