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!