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
‘I can confidently assure you that fantasy writing doesn’t get much better than this’
An enjoyable, sweeping and often touching tale of bravery and pious devotion’
‘Powerful and deeply moving. The Iron Lance is an engrossing read’
‘This is a rip-roaring adventure story; the pace rarely flags. There’s scheming, murder and betrayal aplenty’
‘Amusing and interesting’
‘A vivid historical setting and a lengthy and satisfying plot’
From the Back Cover
Duncan has returned with his new wife to the fastness of Banvard, to continue his father Murdo's good work in building a powerful and devout community. Even more precious a gift than his wife, though, is the other item that Duncan has brought to the Scottish clan: the Black Rood, the holy Cross of the Crucifixion that Duncan rescued from the clutches of the Knights Templar.
Yet the reach of the Templars is long, and soon Duncan and his loved ones find themselves under attack from the Christian Knights. Duncan's daughter Cait is forced to flee, and soon finds herself on a boat heading for the Moorish strongholds of Spain, where she will find herself mired in a battle for religious supremacy which threatens to leave only corpses in its wake.
Cait appears to have little hope of survival, but it seems that the pious devotion of her forebears is about to bear miraculous fruit. And the possibility of her survival becomes intertwined with the discovery of the most holy relic of all…
Magnificent and breathtaking in scope, The Celtic Crusades has traced the epic tale of a Scottish family fighting for its faith during one of the bloodiest periods in our history. In the final part of this enthralling trilogy of historical adventure, Stephen Lawhead delivers an explosive and revelatory climax to this unique religious quest.
About the Author
Born and raised in America, Lawhead moved to the UK, to Oxford, in order to research into Celtic legend and history. He lives in Iffley with his wife, writer Alice Slaikeu Lawhead, and their two sons, Ross and Drake.