Lawhead paints a vast and exotic canvas of medieval world politics, then peoples it with colorful characters--cunning Byzantine rulers, bluff Norman knights, gap-toothed, shaggy-brained Saxon peasants--who encounter visions and miracles, brutality and ambition, love and justice. At the end of the main narrative, Murdo gets what he wants but not in the ways expected. The framing narrative ends with hints that, as the world lurches towards a new millennium, Gordon Murray's Christian secret society is the world's only hope for survival, and the time nears for the brotherhood to reveal itself.
Lawhead never ceases to deliver even when moving rapidly from one setting to another; his concurrent storylines flow well and I found myself at the edge of my seat several times.
Having read part of his Arthurian series, I knew him to be an author of scholarship and this volume did nothing to dispel that knowledge. A wonderful historical from a perspective I had not yet seen and one in which the Crusades and the Church were not always painted in a sympathetic light. I look forward to the next two volumes!
A Scottish lawyer in 1899 is invited to join a secret society that has roots in the Celtic crusades of the 11th century. This begins the story of Murdos adventures in the crusades.
The year is 1095 and the devoted Catholic people of Scotland leave their homes to fight the infidels in the Holy Land. Murdo, who is sixteen, is resentful of being left home with his mother while his father, older brothers and cousins embark on what he thinks is an exciting journey. Once the older male relatives leave home, the corrupt church authorities seize Murdos family lands and property, kill his servants and banish them from their home. Murdo wants to regain his rightful property for his family and his future wife so he goes to Jerusalem to get his father back.
Murdo, who is now angry at all priests is unwittingly joined by three monks on his journey to the holy land. Their relationship at first is antagonistic, but the priests wear him down and a friendship is born. Murdos enthusiasm for the crusades quickly fades on the first day of fighting when he witnesses the excessive cruelty and vicious killing of innocent women and children by the crusaders.
This a story of coming of age for Murdo where he discovers how the church, faith, home, love and family determine the life he wants. The character development was very good, but the story dragged in a few places for me.
Linda C. (Seagull) reviewed The Iron Lance (The Celtic Crusades, Book 1) on
Rich in heroism, treachery, and adventure, The Iron Lance begins an epic trilogy of a Scottish noble family fighting for its existence and its faith during the age of the Crusades--and of a secret society whose ceremonies will shape history for a millennium. (back cover)
Adventure begins in Scotland,1095. Beginning epic trilogy of a Ssscottish noble family fighting for its existence and its faith during the age of the Crusades--and a secret society whose ceremonies will shape history for a milleniou.
Pretty good. Will be interesting ot see what happens in tehrest of hte trilogy. A little slow at times, and bouncing back and forth between 1099 and 1899 was a little awkward. But overall a good story.