The Black Rood

Stephen R. Lawhead, Author Eos $25 (448p) ISBN 978-0-06-105034-3
The second volume of the historical fantasy Celtic Crusades trilogy finds Magnus Ranulfsson's eldest son, Duncan, taking up his father's quest for relics of the Crucifixion--in this case, the last remaining traceable piece of the True Cross, the Black Rood. He does not go alone. Padraig, an unconventional priest of the Celtic Cele De, accompanies him, and on their bandit-troubled passage through France they are joined by Prince Roupen of Armenia, who is trying to return to his homeland. When the three reach the Mediterranean, their worries multiply, as the Knights Templars are less friendly than they seem, some Christians are openly at war with one another and the Moslems (particularly the Seljuq Turks) are ready to take advantage of the intrigues. Duncan finds himself up to his sword belt in those plottings, dealing with friends where he expected enemies and vice versa The narrative is framed by the diary of a turn-of-the-century Scots physician, a member of a secret order keeping Celtic wisdom alive. Coincidences are so numerous as to be jarring, and the sheer abundance of historical detail slows the pacing. Those same details also bring the setting to robust life, however; they do no harm to the characterizations and include such treasures as the cult of the Black Mary (Mary Magdalene as the wife of Jesus) and a gruesomely vivid narrative of the Crucifixion. With this novel, Lawhead likely will win no converts, but nor will he alienate his faithful. (June)
Reviewed on: 05/29/2000
Release date: 06/01/2000
Genre: Fiction
Peanut Press/Palm Reader - 512 pages - 978-0-06-114403-5
Open Ebook - 512 pages - 978-0-06-114406-6
Paperback - 437 pages - 978-0-310-21783-1
Ebook - 512 pages - 978-0-06-134372-8
Ebook - 512 pages - 978-0-06-173935-4
Mass Market Paperbound - 512 pages - 978-0-06-105110-4
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