The Mystic Rose (Celtic Crusades S) Hardcover – 19 Mar 2001
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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’
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Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
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.
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.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Classic Stephen Lawhead. Britain to the Holy Land and back in the time of the crusades with the main character a woman. Well done.Published 5 months ago by PAC
If you like your history with a large dose of make believe then this is for you. A good adventure yarn.Published on 2 Dec. 2013 by j22
Stephen R. Lawhead is an internationally acclaimed author of mythic history and imaginative fiction. Read morePublished on 29 Sept. 2007 by J. Chippindale
Stephen R. Lawhead is an internationally acclaimed author of mythic history and imaginative fiction. Read morePublished on 17 Sept. 2007 by J. Chippindale
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 morePublished on 25 Jun. 2002
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 morePublished on 25 May 2001