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The Mystic Rose (Celtic Crusades S) Hardcover – 19 Mar 2001

4.3 out of 5 stars 16 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Voyager; First Edition edition (2 April 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0002246678
  • ISBN-13: 978-0002246675
  • Product Dimensions: 23.2 x 15 x 4.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,503,290 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

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

4.3 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

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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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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Format: Paperback
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 action and intrugue than the other two. Yes, it is predicatable to some extent, but I found that there were some unexpected twists and even the predictable parts were exciting and drew me in thoroughly to this wonderful story. Towards the end I could not put the book down and read on through the night, sleeping through my morning alarm and having to rush my daughter to school. I heartily recommend this book.
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Format: Paperback
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 yourself halfway through before you realise it. Cait's character is a great portrayal of a flawed hero (heroin) whose ambition and human characteristics blinds what she knows she must do in her heart. It is also an interesting starting point for those looking into just what happened during the Middle Ages, especially as regards Spain being heavily under Almohad (Arab) control. The parts narrated by our Scottish 19th-20th century hero are a good respite from the text and also bring about a great conclusion to his ongoing immersion in the Cele De. I think the previous reviewer might be correct in saying that it might be better to be a practising christian when reading it, but seeing as christians manage to read such books as phillip pullmans trilogy and dan browns da vinci code then i don't see why non-christians find it so hard to read books with a christian content?!? A great story though it is hard to explain why, you will just have to read the series to find out.
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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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