Reviewed By: Harriet Klausner
Amazon US PB Amazon US HC Amazon Canada PB Amazon Canada HC
Stephen R. Lawhead
Class/Genre: Fantasy Religious Fiction Christianity
Series: Celtic Crusades # 2
Avon Eos, Jun 2000, $25.00, 437 pp.
In 1132, Torf-Einar returns to his home in the Northlands. Years ago, Torf joined the Christian armies fighting in the Great Crusade. He remained in the Holy Land for years following that debacle. When his brother Murdo asks Torf why, the older man states he has come to die and rather be buried in a pigsty here than in that accursed place where he saw so many die. However, he does claim knowledge of THE BLACK ROOD, a piece of the True Cross that led the faithful to victory after victory until it vanished and the tide changed.
To his shock, Duncan's wife Rhona dies in childbirth along with the infant. A grieving Duncan cannot abide his home due to the memories. Like his father Murdo did in search of THE IRON LANCE, Duncan decides to look for the powerful Christian relic, THE BLACK ROOD. His adventures are just beginning.
THE BLACK ROOD, the second book in the "Celtic Crusades", is an exciting work of historical fiction that brings to life a bygone era. The historical feel to the tale is a two edged sword. On the one hand, it brings a sharp interesting focus to the plot, but on the other hand the amount of authentic tidbits sometimes slows down the action. Duncan is a fine reluctant hero who not only contends with his grief, but the various "allies" who, at the least, interfere with his quest or, at the most, want him dead. Stephen R. Lawhead provides genre fans with an enticing tale that makes the twelfth century throughout Europe and the Holy Land seem real in an entertaining adventure novel.
Reprinted with permission. Do Not repost without permission from the author, Harriet Klausner