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The Mystic Rose (Celtic Crusades) [Kindle Edition]

Stephen R. Lawhead
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Stephen R. Lawhead's Celtic Crusades saga has won widespread critical acclaim and a legion of loyal readers. Now, he returns with the final volume in this magnificent series -- a tale rich in history and imagination, filled with danger, betrayal, courage, and faith, as the third generation of a Scottish noble family continues its eternal quest to secure the divine on earth, and preserve humankind's last true hope for salvation.

While undergoing the initiation into the highest order of a secret religious society, Scottish lawyer Gordon Murray discovers the greatest revelation of all ...

A thousand years after its disappearance, the Mystic Rose, which is the fabled Grail -- the Chalice of the Last Supper -- has been found, and the Knights Templar will stop at nothing to possess it. Led by the ruthless and corrupt Renaud de Bracineaux, the warrior monks embark on a dangerous and deceitful quest to find the Holy Cup.

Only one person stands in their way: Cait, a young woman from the windswept hills of northern Scotland. Raised on the Crusader tales of her grandfather, Murdo, and her father, Duncan, the redoubtable Cait has determined to claim the prize for her own.

The trail is long, and it is treacherous. Guided only by a handful of coded clues gleaned from a stolen letter, Cait and her small band of knights will make their way from the shadowed halls of Saint Sophia to the marble palaces of Aragon, from Constantinople to Santiago de Compostela and beyond, deep into the heart of Moorish Spain and a world unseen by Christian eyes for over four hundred years.

Thus begins a race which quickly escalates into a battle of wits, will, and might between two implacable, cunning, and resourceful foes for the possession of the most valuable object in all Christendom: the Mystic Rose.

Magnificent and breathtaking in scope, The Celtic Crusades traces the epic tale of one family fighting for its faith during one of the bloodiest epochs in history, and with The Mystic Rose delivers a powerful and moving climax to this unique and compelling historical adventure. Vividly interweaving the history of our own tumultuous time with events from long ago, and brilliantly blending sheer, visceral storytelling excitement with a powerful sweeping vision of human destiny, Stephen R. Lawhead concludes his thrilling trilogy of a Scottish noble family during the age of the Crusades and the secret society whose hidden ceremonies have shaped our world.


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Amazon Review

Skilfully weaving bloody conflict and intrigue and faith, The Mystic Rose concludes Stephen Lawhead's epic historical trilogy, The Celtic Crusades, in fine style. While the tightly constructed 435 pages can be read as a self-contained adventure, anyone doing so will miss many resonances with previous volumes, The Iron Lance and The Black Rood. With a framing narrative set in the early 20th century, Lawhead recounts a grand scale quest through medieval Spain and Anatolia around strong Celtic heroine Cait and the feared Knights Templar for the Holy Grail. This author has used the grail legend before, notably in the conclusion to the Pendragon Cycle, Grail, though here the approach is largely historical and while Lawhead's Christianity informs his writing he never preaches. He is a storyteller first, who by employing direct, folk-like narrative prose compels by making the reader care deeply about the fate of his characters. There are no soft options, and as in Lawhead's best work, Byzantium, strong interplay between Christian and Islamic values, all of the leading players fully rounded with vices and virtues. Less artful than Mary Gentle's in many ways comparable Ash, above all The Mystic Rose is an unpretentious romantic adventure which delivers a thrilling emotional punch. --Gary S. Dalkin

Review

‘I can confidently assure you that fantasy writing doesn’t get much better than this’
The Express

‘An enjoyable, sweeping and often touching tale of bravery and pious devotion’
SFX

‘Powerful and deeply moving. The Iron Lance is an engrossing read’
Starburst

‘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 lengthy and satisfying plot’
Publishing News


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The trilogy started better than it finished 28 Jun. 2011
Format:Kindle Edition
Given the normal high quality of Lawhead's work, the final part of the Celtic Crusades trilogy has ended somewhat disappointingly. Lawhead's prose style, as evidenced in the Arthur sextet or the Song of Albion trilogy, is usually precise, sweeping in its sense of the epic, and a delight to read. The Mystic Rose proves extremely weak from an author who normally provides wonderful stories. Inevitably, you cannot help comparing it to the Sarentium Mosaic dulogy and the gulf between the two is vast.
Taking the trilogy as a whole, it is fairly simple to understand how the intended cryptic early nineteenth century side story is going to conclude so it becomes more a case of seeing how the story will unfold. Unfortunately, this is where The Mystic Rose falls down. Unlike the Black Rood or the Iron Lance
Caitriona's voyage (after Duncan's somewhat hasty dispatch) comes across as a series of fundamentally unbelievable sketches. The placement of a harem in mid-Spain with Prince Hasan's fantastical palace and the eventual conclusion on a thinly-veiled Avalon-esque community provides minimal excitement and the problem is further enhanced by all of the major characters either being two-dimensional or subject to so many quick personality changes as to be implausible. Alethea's transformation from irritating teenage sister to pious nun is untenable; Cait's constant stubborness and Rognvald's stoical protector mentality together with the overly brutish de Bracineaux provide a bewildering mix of characters who do not respond from situation to situation with any kind of uniformity.
The Mystic Rose is the story of the vengeful Caitriona and her somewhat awkward half-sister Alethea who seek to avenge Duncan's murder at the hands of the Templar Commander de Bracineaux.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Inevitably for this Series - a Grail Quest 25 Jun. 2009
Format:Paperback
Concluding the "Celtic Crusades" trilogy - this book kind of had to be a grail quest really! Better than the second book, Lawhead recovers his sense of storytelling, but still I think the first of the series was the best. Lawhead writes action sequences very well, but the journeying I found a little too long winded.

In this story Cait, daughter of Duncan, son of Murdo Ranulfson, witnesses the murder of her father at the hands of a Knight Templer. She promises not to avenge him, but does not keep her vow - but before she can kill her father's murderer, she discovers an important document and steals it. This then sets in train a grail quest across medieval Europe.
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4.0 out of 5 stars End of the Celtic Quest for Relics 3 Dec. 2008
Format:Paperback
The Mystic Rose concludes the Celtic Crusades trilogy of Stephen Lawhead and ends the series of on strong note after the dullness that was The Black Rood. Crusades is perhaps the wrong word for the series, though; each of the three books instead deal with a quest for the holiest items of Christendom.

Again, we follow our Celtic protagonist (a heroine this time) on a quest for holy relics - this time the holy grail. Catriona is a stronger protagonist than her father Duncan from book 2, and unlike the previous volume, there is plenty of suspense and excitement in the story. Partly this is because Lawhead has abandoned the "diary" format of the Black Rood for a much better format, partly because the characters in this book are far more interesting, and partly because the plot itself is simply much better.

The book is not without its flaws, however. The characters are not always well realized; a problem that is particularly pronounced for the main protagonist. The writer obviously wants the reader to think and feel in certain directions, and thus lets Catriona "comment" on the behavior of her surroundings. Unfortunately, this comes off as very stupid and silly when the comments are related to actions of her sister which should hardly come as a surprise unless they are strangers who have just met (they're not). Similarly, Catriona in one moment comments on the uselessness of one of her companions, only to - a few sentences on - turn for advice to the self-same person. Errors like these make the characterization fall flat and have been a problem in every book of the series.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A fitting conclusion to the Celtic Crusades 17 Mar. 2001
Format:Hardcover
Overall, I did not find the Celtic Crusades to be the greatest of Lawhead's works. Reading the Iron Lance and the Black Rood, I found that they seemed to blend together a bit and I was looking for something to break them out from each other. The Mystic Rose definitely achieved what I was looking for, partially by presenting the story from a woman's point-of-view but also through taking the story in a different direction. Cait watched her father die at the hands of his enemy from the Black Rood, and though she promises her father that she will not hold out for revenge, her life soon becomes completely focused on it. Through the story we watch Cait and her younger sister grow and learn. We see them both start out in pretty bad places, Cait as a woman whose whole life is focused on hate and revenge, her sister as a woman whose whole life is focused on herself. Lawhead brings both women and the group traveling with them through much and the reader can watch them change and grow. This is the true blessing of a good Lawhead novel and it is done very well in this novel. This novel does not tie up some of the ends I was hoping it would in regards to the writer of the prologues of each of the sections as well as the conclusion of each book. This story is moved forward, but I'm looking for a book that takes place in the present/near future with these characters and the current descendants of the Celtic Crusades. Overall, I recomend this book. If you enjoyed the other books in the Celtic Crusades you will definitely enjoy this one. If you were disappointed in the earlier books, I'd still suggest giving this one a try. It's well worth it.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars A good read
If you like your history with a large dose of make believe then this is for you. A good adventure yarn.
Published 20 months ago by j22
5.0 out of 5 stars Third in the Celtic Crusades Series
Stephen R. Lawhead is an internationally acclaimed author of mythic history and imaginative fiction. Read more
Published on 29 Sept. 2007 by J. Chippindale
5.0 out of 5 stars Third in the Celtic Crusades Series
Stephen R. Lawhead is an internationally acclaimed author of mythic history and imaginative fiction. Read more
Published on 17 Sept. 2007 by J. Chippindale
5.0 out of 5 stars Best of the Three
I found this to be the best of the trilogy and an exciting and satisfying conclusion. I cannot understand the reviewer who said this book is dull as this one is more packed with... Read more
Published on 10 Jan. 2007 by Timothy Gibson
5.0 out of 5 stars A great conclusion
When you look back on the book it is hard to tell exactly why you were swept along in the tale and exactly why it is such a great book, but when you're in the story you find... Read more
Published on 4 Aug. 2006 by Andrew Rossiter
1.0 out of 5 stars Dull and annoying
Part 3 of Stephen Lawhead's Celtic Crusades trilogy concludes this series of books that started out well, dimmed in the middle and became very dull in this last installment. Read more
Published on 25 Jun. 2002
5.0 out of 5 stars Epic!! Brilliant!
This book is a great stand alone, it's engaging, clever, and very satisfying. It is a pleasure to read every crafted sentence and there is a lot of research gone in to this novel. Read more
Published on 25 May 2001
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely Brilliant.
Stephen Lawhead does it again. He gets better and better all the time, I thoroughly recommend this book, Lawhead manages to combine an accurate historical setting with a great... Read more
Published on 13 May 2001
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, Excellent novel!
This book blew me away. It completely surpassed all my expectations. My friend recommended Stephen Lawhead to me and it stayed on the back burner for some time, but now that I've... Read more
Published on 1 May 2001
5.0 out of 5 stars Another Fantastic Offering from Lawhead
For those of us who have been enjoying the Stephen Lawhead books, the publication of "The Mystic Rose" is another Coup for Stephen Lawhead. Read more
Published on 18 Mar. 2001
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