Read Iron Lance by Stephen R. Lawhead Online


“ACTION-PACKED ADEVNTURE.”—BooklistScotland, 1095. While his father and brothers follow Pope Urban II’s call to win Jerusalem from the infidels, Murdo Ranulfson stays behind to guard his family’s interests. But when his home is confiscated by greedy usurpers, Murdo is forced to follow the Crusades himself. Hoping to find his father and redeem his family’s land, Murdo sets“ACTION-PACKED ADEVNTURE.”—BooklistScotland, 1095. While his father and brothers follow Pope Urban II’s call to win Jerusalem from the infidels, Murdo Ranulfson stays behind to guard his family’s interests. But when his home is confiscated by greedy usurpers, Murdo is forced to follow the Crusades himself. Hoping to find his father and redeem his family’s land, Murdo sets off on a journey that leads him to the Mediterranean—the heart of civilization now threatened by barbarian hordes—and on to the fabled city of Constantinople and beyond, to the Holy Land. Amidst brutality and ambition, Murdo discovers what he seeks—and obtains a relic that will guide him and his descendants for centuries.Rich in heroism, treachery, and adventure, The Iron Lance begins an epic trilogy of Scottish noble family fighting for its existence and its faith during the age of the Crusades—and of a secret society whose ceremonies will shape history for a millennium.“INTRIGUING . . . STEEPED IN HISTORICAL DETAIL . . .”—Library Journal...

Title : Iron Lance
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780061050329
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 363 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Iron Lance Reviews

  • Richard Derus
    2019-04-08 07:48

    Rating: 2* of fiveThe Publisher Says: In the year 1095, Pope Urban II declared war on the infidel. Kings, princes, and lords throughout Europe have joined the Crusade. To Murdo Ranulfson has fallen the duty of guarding his family's interests while his father and brothers fight to win Jerusalem. But when corrupt clergy prove enemies rather than protectors, Murdo must leave his native Scotland in search of his father. In the company of monks and warriors, he journeys far beyond the rolling fields of home, beyond the fabled Constantinople and the brooding walls of Antioch, to the Holy Land and the sword points of the Saracens. There, where blood, suffering, and human evil at its most horrifying are shot through with rays of the miraculous, he obtains the relic that will guide his life and the lives of his descendants for centuries. And there he grows from a callow youth to a man, trading cynicism for faith and selfishness for the heart of a leader. Steeped in heroism, treachery, and the clamor of battle, The Iron Lance begins a remarkable, masterfully woven epic trilogy of a Scottish noble family fighting for its existence and its faith during the age of the Great Crusades -- and of a secret society that will shape history for a thousand years.My Review: There was a time when I tried, and tried hard, to be a christian. Something alluring about feeling sure you're protected by a bid daddy who loves you. But the problem for me is, I have this logical outlook on life and I need stuff to make sense, to follow the rules of storytelling. This religion don't do none o' that, and plus it's riddled with exclusionary language, "moral" justifications for rotten stuff like slavery and incest, and so on and so forth.Horrible.This novel is a holdover possession from that period of my life. It's competently written, it's about a period of history I find enthralling, and I hated every single eyeblink I spent on it. There's persuasion and then there's bludgeoning. This is the latter. Had I paid the slightest attention, I would have noticed that the book was published by Zondervan...a christian publishing house. A foolish error on my part.This review is my reminder to myself: Openness to change is good, but don't get carried away. Borrow from the library. That way the crap that offends you can go back with no damage to your pocketbook.This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

  • Elaine
    2019-04-10 10:41

    I came to Lawhead via his much vaunted "Merlin" series. This, is quite a different series, and one in which he excels. More historical than fantasy, I am amazed that Lawhead doesn't have a wider following, as he recounts a riveting tale, populated by fascinating characters.The Celtic series spans some 1,500 pages-and if ps2+3 come up to parr with this first excellent intstallment, then I have much to look forward to, and will be reading the next 2 in quick succession-p2 starting shortly!Two tales are recounted-the losing of the Celtic lands in Orkney, for the protagonist's family-and the epic tale of the fisrt Crusade to libertate Jerusalem. Although the first tale is short, it adds much to the narrative, and gives us huge empathy for the families involved. Murdo, the youngest son, sets out for the Holy Land to get help from his father and elder brothers, undertaking a tortuous route which takes him a year to complete. En route he befriends three monks of the Cele De-they are vehemently opposed to the traditional church, and their innate goodness contrasts vividly with the Church of the time, and inspires Murdo to help and support them. I suspect this will become more relevant in the subsequent novels, as the "True Path" is established.Simply, the first part is one of these historical narratives of epic proportions. I was riveted by the entire concept, learned much, and found plot and characters page turning. I adore and thrive on this type of writing, and paln to track down the rest of Lawhead's back catalogue. 5/5 stars does nnot really reflect how much I enjoyed it-and how much I learned.

  • Mimi
    2019-04-13 06:01

    I wasn't quite expecting the Knights Templar side story, but it was an interesting story of the Crusades. However, it is so, so, so very Protestant and therefore, the author doesn't always quite have his arms around Catholic piety (I'm pretty sure Lent was observed by this time in the West), the sacraments, and the heroes have an interesting ability to be schismatic. I have the second of this series around and will probably read it.

  • Annette
    2019-03-25 10:39

    I've been on a Lawhead kick lately; the "Celtic Crusades" series is another of his I've long put off reading for one reason or another. I was pleasantly surprised at how much I it. While told in third person, Lawhead avoids for the most part the "telling rather than showing" of his characters' emotions and motivations that is the bane of so many writers (and even himself in other books.) The history is fascinating, the plot compelling, and the pacing excellent - especially considering how easy it would have been to get bogged down in the minutia of the long, hard travel between the British Isles and the Holy Land. The plot itself revolves around the First Crusade and is takes place between ~1096 and 1099. Our main character is from Orkneyjar in the British Isles. While he desperately wants to follow his father and older brothers on the Crusade (although not out of any personal piety), he, only 16 years old, is instead forced to stay behind and hold down the family farm. Through a series of events he ends up chasing after them anyway some months later, and on the way meets up with a trio of monks from a curious sect who claim to guard the "Sanctus Clarus," or "Holy Light." They, and a series of visions he does not seek and only reluctantly acknowledges, end up radially changing the path of his life - unsurprisingly, the title object looms large in his destiny.What I liked about the book: The history. Like so many Americans of my generation, all I really knew about the crusades was what they taught in school - namely, "Catholics bad! Crusades Evil!" Lawhead did a good job of not only illuminating some of the complex motivations, but also in avoiding becoming simply one more voice mindlessly echoing the above sentiment. Certainly, the crusaders were as a group fairly ignorant, arrogant, and brutish and behaved in a manner no one could call Christian no matter how great their imagination. But, their enemies were no innocents either. Individual crusaders ran the gamut of pious to pitiless, and some (our hero included) came to quickly abhor the inhuman, hellish violence with which Jerusalem was conquered. Some of the nobles (most notably one who bears my great-grandfather's name of Magnus) were in the own way honorable men willing to right wrongs even for those who could not obviously be of much use to them. Similarly, the church itself was not presented as all bad, although most of the higher-ups were certainly impugned. Our "Cele De" monks were genuinely good people, if still children of their age in many of their opinions, assumptions, and (if you will) superstitions. What I didn't like: The story's "wrapper" concerns a secret brotherhood who are the modern descendants of the Cele De monks; the Dark-Ages monks themselves would probably have agreed with the label of "secret society." One of them has almost magical powers (although they're only briefly revealed in this volume). Despite the fact these characters clearly had a better grasp on Christianity than the rank in file, the whole thing smelled of Gnosticism. And then, of course, there is the Iron Lance itself. The veneration of icons is something that I've always found disquieting and superstitious and is one of the main reasons I am not myself Catholic. I have a little trouble turning this reaction off and simply accepting the story as it is. All in all: good, entertaining, and educational. Just don't swallow it whole.

  • Lance
    2019-03-25 12:51

    Big thank you to Adam, for recommending a book with my name in the title!It was really interesting to read a post-grimdark fantasy series in 2016. I could feel the ideas evolving towards a bleaker world-view through the depictions of graphic violence against civilians and the flagrant self-interest of the highest ranking noblemen, although Bohemond and Dalassenus still came over as extremely charismatic figures. It was interesting to contrast this with the major plot resolution which upheld kingly honour and placed the testimony of a young vassal and his mother above that of an influential bishop. A charming "missing-link" novel, combining element of 1980's post-Tolkein honour narratives with the burgeoning demand for more gritty or grey fantasy characters. Very much a relic of its time.Another element that I really found refreshing was the presence of a disabled love interest for the main character. Ragna was introduced as intelligent first and beautiful second, with both postural and facial deformities arising from an accident when she was a baby. I found this really authenticated the love between Ragna and Murdo, and softened my opinion of the sometime overly-headstong and conservative Murdo. Unfortunately, later in the book Ragna's disability fails to be mentioned and it poses no difficulties for her when she is placed in hostile circumstances, which kind of undermined the originality of the concept for me personally. Still, a great step forwards, I cannot think of a single other book which portrays an attractive disabled female lead.Yet, why the two star rating? Let me explain my Taranto-esque ruthlessness.Firstly, there were serious pacing issues with the book. I charge the editors more with this than the author himself, as I feel that some small alterations would have resolved much of the issue. In its current state however, there was a jarring mix of needless hurry, for example travelling overnight or during the hottest part of the day when it would have been more sensible to travel a few hours later, juxtaposed with year-long sea voyages and months of overwintering in which the characters quietly bide their frustration. Would the nature of medieval journeying not teach Murdo a little patience? Still, he is only 18, and I would have accepted his frustration better if it had been incorporated into a more linear build up of suspense throughout the low-action sections of the narrative. Second, I have to deduct a star for some dodgy metaphors. In some places the writing was a little unimaginative. For example, there's a paragraph where sunburn is likened to fire and flame and singing and burning, just a little unimaginative. Similarly, things shine like the sun, blood turns things either black or red with a relentless monotony of prose, and all the noblemen are described in a very similar trite manner.Okay. Rant over. I really enjoyed the book, the narrative was compelling and the prose absorbing. I have no doubts about picking up the second in the series.

  • Jane
    2019-04-07 09:53

    Very enjoyable; to me one of the more engrossing books on the Crusades. Lawhead was, if not at the top of his form, very close to it. I feel that honor is reserved for his Byzantium. Murdo, a young Orkneyman, sees his father and brothers go off on Crusade. To his disappointment, he is left home to take care of land and mother. When venal churchmen, by a trick, steal the family estate and it is now the property of a Norseman, Murdo takes ship for the Holy Land to bring his father back home. He meets three monks of the Cele De, an order with Celtic practices, frowned upon by the official Roman Catholic Church. All Crusaders have to pass through Constantinople on their way to Jerusalem and Emperor Alexios is only too happy to help them pass through his empire. Murdo participates in a quest to recover from the Turks the Holy Lance, the spear that pierced Christ's side at the Crucifixion.I liked Lawhead's unpretentious style. It was a tad overwrought towards the end, though. The story had three main subplots: that of a Scotsman in Victorian times in a secret society [descended from the Cele De] framing the main action; Murdo's story; that of the Crusade and Crusader States; and that of the wise, shrewd Emperor Alexios, his Drungarios and his Captain of the Excubitori. I got a feel for the Crusades. Descriptions were vivid. Battle scenes and duels were well presented. The characters were likeable. Murdo matures in his thinking in the course of the novel. The three delightful monks give a moral framework to the story and are a stark contrast to the greedy clergy. The novel was very readable.Highly recommended for those who enjoy historical novels on the Crusades.

  • Olethros
    2019-03-27 05:38

    -Ceñido a las fuentes pero con toquecitos fantásticos.- Género. Novela histórica.Lo que nos cuenta. En Escocia, a comienzos de 1899, un anónimo narrador acaba de alcanzar un grado muy alto de iniciación en el Consejo de los Hermanos, sociedad secreta a la que pertenece. A finales del siglo XI, Murdo es un joven de cuna noble del Condado de las Orcadas que, junto a su madre, queda al frente de las tierras y posesiones de la familia cuando su padre y hermanos. En Levunium, el emperador bizantino Alejo I Comneno cabalga al frente de su ejército, asegura la frontera norte y pone su mirada en las tierras perdidas del sur y el este. Primer volumen de la trilogía Las Cruzadas Celtas.¿Quiere saber más de este libro, sin spoilers? Visite:

  • Neil
    2019-04-09 08:54

    I enjoyed this book quite a bit. I have read it several times now; I probably read it once every other year or so [not quite once a year]. I think it has a good flow to it, overall. It was very descriptive in parts; it also helped me see the Crusades in a new light. So that was good.The basic gist of the plot is this: a young man [Murdo] is unable to go on one of the first Crusades with his father and older brothers. Not realizing how large the world truly is, he anticipates his father and brothers returning within the year while he takes care of their homestead with his mother. Their lands are 'illegally' seized and they are forced to flee for their lives to a friend's hall. The young man decides he will find his father and brothers and return them home to right the horrific wrong done to him; he has a fly-by-night wedding with his beloved and leaves the next day. Along the way he encounters some monks who are trying to reach their benefactor-king to act as his advisers. Murdo's travels and directions coincide with the priests' journey, and along the way he learns bits and pieces about the Cele De, a mysterious order that claims to protect and share 'the True Light.' Upon reaching the Holy Land, Murdo makes it to Jerusalem in time to watch the city be sacked by the Crusaders. He eventually finds his father and brothers before returning home with a treasure beyond compare. He has many experiences, some of which are mystical in nature and some of which are spiritual in nature; through them, he decides to create a safe haven for the Cele De because of the example they have set before him. He returns 'home' to his wife and his mother, his king having granted him new land holdings after discovering how Murdo's family lost their original land holdings and hall.The story alternates between 'the modern times' [say, late 1800s/early 1900s] and Murdo's story. The story in the 'modern times' involves a descendant of Murdo's joining a mysterious group that seeks to protect and disseminate 'the Truth' in dark and perilous times; it is secretive because other forces [dark forces] in the World would seek to destroy them. I do not know how necessary these four [five?] forays into the 'future descendant' helped the book or story as a whole; it could have been done without. But as I tend to read this book on a regular basis and not the last two books in the series, perhaps I have forgotten how the author ties it all together at the end of the third book.I think Lawhead also does a nice job describing Imperial life in Byzantium and the Eastern Empire [for lack of a better word]. So many people do not realize the Eastern Half of the former Roman Empire lasted much longer than the Western Half and stood as a bastion in the path of the Moors and Barbarians that prevented these groups from spreading into Europe. It was interesting to read about the different Crusader lords as well as Emperor Alexius - not one of them seemed to be a stereotypical character without any type of depth to them. Instead. each character was unique and different; sure, there were some similarities [which would make sense due to a similar upbringing] but each Crusader lord was uniquely different, which I felt added to the story.The Sack of Jerusalem was horrendous and really opened my eyes to the horrors of the Crusades. I had no idea that essentially EVERYBODY was killed in Jerusalem [due in part to Crusader ignorance and due in part to the Crusaders not taking the time to figure out who 'the Enemy' truly was]. It was a very disturbing set of chapters in the book [which is what I am sure Lawhead was intending]. Perhaps it is the result of growing up in a private school, but unlike other reviewers I have read, I grew up believing the Crusades were a noble endeavor to free the Holy Land from Islamic oppressors and to protect pilgrims who wished to visit sites and towns seen as holy by Christians. It was not until I attended college that I learned how much the Crusades are despised by other people and are now seen as a blot [among many, unfortunately] on Christianity. I still remember the shock and horror of how I felt after reading about the Sack of Jerusalem the first time; it still grieves me each time I read about it. My tangential opinion: (view spoiler)[ I have always been confused, however, at the leniency people who despise and profane the Crusades give to the Muslims, who enacted their own crusades for the three hundred years preceding the Christian Crusades. Nobody seems to like to talk about the manner in which Islam grew and expanded across Africa and the Middle East; nobody wishes to discuss the horrors inflicted upon innocent populations by Muslims as they forcefully spread their religion. I will be the first to admit: one of the worst things to happen as Christianity grew was that it became the 'official religion' of the Roman Empire and people were forced to convert. That should never have happened. People in power using the Bible to justify attempted land grabs in the form of the Crusades is ridiculous beyond the pale. But that does not make it okay or provide any sort of justification for what the Muslims did as they spread across the lands and grew in power.(hide spoiler)] But enough of my soap box.I have to admit, the first time I tried reading this book I quit before I started reading Murdo's story. The whole 'modern preface' thing about a future descendant joining some kind of secret, quasi-mystical society was a bit much for me and EXTREMELY BOOOOORING!!!!! Once I started reading about Murdo's adventures, I enjoyed the book. So what I would do whenever I re-read the book was that I would skip over the 'modern stuff' to get to 'the good stuff.' Lately, though, I read the whole book. I'm sure if I read the three books consecutively I'd have a better appreciation about the whole 'future descendant's storyline' thing going on, but maybe I wouldn't.I liked how Murdo stayed true to himself and his core beliefs. I also liked how he transformed over the course of the book, how the monks from the Cele De transformed his life by the living testimonies of their own lives. I felt this was one of the better parts of the book, and very believable [even despite some of the mystical encounters / visions that took place]. I loved how the three monks interacted with each other, especially when they were trying to be deceptive without lying or breaking any of the Commandments. They made a great team! Hilarious beyond belief! Some of their arguments/discussions were also rather funny to read. We mock the logic of those who lived 1000 years or so ago, but our 'modern-day logic' can be rather stupid/illogical, so perhaps we should not mock them too much. Their logic was based upon what they know; our 'modern logic' oftentimes seems bent on ignoring what we know in a pathetic attempt to seem PC or more acceptable. Granted, their logic wasn't as funny as Arthur's discussion with Sir Bedevere [about what floats on water in conjunction with how much a woman weighs, and how if she weighs as much as a duck, she can float, which means she's made of wood, which means she's a witch, and can [logically] be burned].I think the book also does a great job showing how and why the deep animosity Muslims feel toward Christians started, on the one hand, and why they were [are] worried about Western forays into the Middle East being the harbingers of new 'Christian Crusades' against them. At the same time, I rarely read about Christian terrorists hijacking airplanes or killing innocent people [strangers] just to make some kind if bizarre political point. Anyway. Lawhead does a great job describing the animus, fear, and worry that the conquering rulers felt in regard to the surrounding countryside once the Crusader armies returned home. Not only did the Crusaders have to worry about attacks from the Muslims, they also had to worry about retaliation from the Christians, Copts, Jews, and Arabs [as well as other members of the diverse population in the region] after the indiscriminate killings inflicted by the Crusaders.I definitely liked this book [and the full series] better than the Pendragon cycle or Dragon King series. The Empryion Saga still has a warm spot in my heart as the first set of Christian fiction [sci-fi] books I ever read. But I think this book [and this series of books] shows how Stephen Lawhead has grown as an author and improved upon his storytelling abilities.

  • Sergio
    2019-04-11 09:56

    Questo primo romanzo della saga delle Crociate Celtiche, ambientato al tempo della I crociata e della riconquista dei cristiani guidati da Goffredo di Buglione di Gerusalemme fino allora dominio dei Selgiuchidi mussulmani, è avvincente e avventuroso al punto giusto e mi spinge a prendere al più presto in mano il seguito delle avventure di Murdo, il giovane signore delle Orcadi che ha partecipato alla crociata ed ora è tornato in patria pronto a costruirsi un regno come vassallo del re Magnus di Norvegia.

  • The Nerd Book Review
    2019-04-17 12:41

    I have to admit I read his book around 2000 and remember very little other than that I really enjoyed all 3 books in the trilogy and it was about several generations of k Igor’s fighting in the crusades. There was also a bit of a supernatural element in it. I was reading a book recently that reminded me a bit of a series I read back in high school and after a bit of research I remembered this was the series I was thinking of haha.

  • Marcia Chocinsky
    2019-04-14 06:04

    Interesting read on the Crusades and those who participated from the Northern Isles. I found this book interesting and absorbing most of the time. However, there were parts which dragged on like all the emporer playing mind games with the various Lords. Oh well, I found those parts boring but the rest was more than okay. Murdo, Emlyn and company were entertaining. Now on to Book Two!

  • Heather
    2019-04-20 12:37

    Rating B+Review As I've found with all of Stephen Lawhead's books (my initiation into the world of Celtic mythology and the Fantasy sub-genre), this book was just a little slow on the ramp-up of the book, but, paradoxically, by the end, I couldn't read it fast enough.The story of Murdo's travels cover a long-forgotten Scotland (with names of places that were entirely unfamiliar to me because this was a Scotland shortly after the turn of the 11th century) all the way across the Mediterranean to the sun-scorched lands of ancient Byzantium and Jerusalem and back. The settings in this book, whether on farms, on boats, in walled citadels, or amongst a military encampment were so evocative that you feel as if you're right there traveling with Murdo and his pals.Additionally, related to the setting, the description of the battles was really interesting (and hard) to read. Most often Murdo doesn't fight (because of his tender age), but comes through the area after the siege and sees the carnage and the evil that has been played out on the land and its inhabitants, which was a new way to portray war. I actually found it more interesting to read than Lawhead's descriptions of front-line action of fighting that are in some of his other novels. Also, this allowed for some nice philosophising about war and related topics that was interesting to read.Beyond just describing a place or a feeling well, Lawhead describes people well. From the terror seen on a Turkish woman's face when her baby is being killed by crusading knights, to Murdo's elation at first love, to his crushing grief following his father's death, to the wisdom of Emperor Alexis, every character is meaningful and richly-drawn. The monks who go with Murdo, who are from an off-beat sect of Catholicism (not approved by the church), inspire him to greatness and are an interesting comparison to other monks and clergymen seen in the book (not that all monks and clergymen are money-hungry thieves). I also greatly enjoyed reading about the sea captain, Jon Wing, who gets Murdo safely from Scotland to the Middle East and back. He was so different from both the monks and the noblemen that it made for an interesting character study in contrasts.The most interesting part for me to read was of the noblemen--I greatly enjoyed their POV--because Lawhead painted the many-numbered lords in various hues, from the down-right silly, to the sage. I haven't read a lot of books that involved a monarchy system, but they're almost always portrayed in literature and film as irrational and brutish, but not all of them in Lawhead's world were like this. It was a different take on a common construct that was worth the read.There were two things that I didn't like about this book, that resulted in the lowered grade. First, the pacing at the end was problematic. The climax and resolution are the last 10% of the book and, by this point, the book is moving fast and the plot is interesting, you're fully engaged, but Lawhead got a little too purple for my taste. I found myself skimming to get to the dialogue and description of action, I didn't need all the internal monologue at this point; I'd been waiting 400 pages and wanted the goods. It was mostly in the scenes as Murdo is returning to Scotland and trying to find the family he left behind, and I understand that Murdo was equally frustrated at having to wait, and it might have just been a writing device so the reader connects with Murdo's feelings, but the writing came across as unnecessarily over-wraught. I've said it before, and I'll say it again, if your reader is skimming, it means you haven't edited as well as you should have.The other thing that bothered me, only slightly so, was that the bit of story about how Murdo's actions will affect the future of the world were thrown in at the beginning of each section of the book, but we don't know how they relate. The only evidence in the prose is that the stuff going on in 1899 Scotland is told via someone who is part of the same sect as Murdo's monk friends. Further, the epilogue did not reveal anything more than someone ranting about the Day of Judgment approaching soon. This is likely true, but it doesn't help us understand the connection to the two time periods in the book. I'm sure more will come out in future books, connecting 1100 Scotland to 1900 Scotland, but I feel this should have been edited differently.

  • Christine
    2019-04-17 07:00

    Never having heard of Lawhead before, I picked this book up out of simple interest in the crusades, and what looked like an interesting story. I definitely was not disappointed. The book manages to spin a good tale following likable characters on a widescale adventure. Lawhead clearly excels at descriptive, almost pretty writing, and this kept the book interesting enough to start and finish the roughly 600 page book. However, the book was over 600 pages, and definitely did not need to be. While the back cover promises an action-filled book, it isn't really. There are a few parts here and there with a battle or interesting experience, but mostly the book focuses on the thoughts of the main character, rather than trying to entertain the reader with stories of blood and gore. Because it is written so well, I could read most of this book easily, but at times it did become rather tedious with constant internal dialogues that weren't really necessary. My other main fault of the book is the jumping around of viewpoints- there are about three different characters whose perspective the narration will jump to now and then, and I always find that particularly distracting and annoying when getting to the good part of my favorite character's story. It is meant to build suspense, but here I didn't really feel like it fit that well. Overall a good book, but due to the >600 pages, I definitely won't be reading a string of these books in a row.

  • Jack Vasen
    2019-04-03 06:55

    This is what I like best about Lawhead - real history mixed in with a fictional story. Our unknown hero sets out on a personal quest in the midst of the first Crusade. His father has gone on the Crusade and our hero seeks to bring his father home to help obtain justice for his family and so he must follow him there. It is an interesting adventure with some quirky monks thrown in to lighten the story.Lawhead seems to indict the 11th century church, the nobles and princes, and the horrors of war. The local bishop and abbot are depicted as totally unrepentant corrupt authorities. Many of the knights are depicted as ruthless and cruel. Since the story revolves around Christian characters there is some preaching of Christian values especially trusting in God. Some of these characters have exemplary behavior, especially in contrast to those around them, but they also follow visions and their central focus is the revered relic to which the title refers. This Iron Lance is supposed to be actual spear that pierced the side of Christ on the cross.There are several chapters that are very difficult to read with explicit war violence laced with descriptions of pillaging and atrocities against civilians. There is a little romance with a mildly explicit sex scene. There is some gutter language.

  • Kathy
    2019-04-22 05:41

    I was reading Stark's history book on the Crusades and wanted to read an historical fiction set in that era at the same time, thus Lawhead's "The Iron Lance" made it into my Kindle. Lawhead is known for his mythical history.I enjoyed the transformation of the main character Murdo from nonbeliever to believer, from boy to man. The tensions in this book are real to the reader; Lawhead is very good at writing action scenes. Great themes of love, family, church, government, humanity, war...The side story of a Scottish lawyer in 1899, who is invited to join the secret society that has roots in the Celtic crusades of the 11th century (the story of Murdo), was a bit harder for me to get into. I would have like to have a bit more explanation of the beliefs and history of the group.Book summary: "Lawhead paints a vast and exotic canvas of medieval world politics, then peoples it with colorful characters--cunning Byzantine rulers, bluff Norman knights, gap-toothed, shaggy-brained Saxon peasants--who encounter visions and miracles, brutality and ambition, love and justice. At the end of the main narrative, Murdo gets what he wants but not in the ways expected."

  • Annemarie
    2019-03-27 09:59

    Dieses Buch habe ich nun schon mehrmals gelesen und immer wieder gefällt es mir.Story:Die Geschichte beginnt in Schottland 1096. Papst Urban II. hat die Gläubigen zum Kreuzzug aufgerufen. Drei der Kreuzfahrer sind Ranulf, ein Gutsherr auf den Orkney-Inseln und seine beiden älteren Söhne. Murdo, der Hauptcharakter, muss alleine bei seiner Mutter bleiben und den Hof bewirtschaften.Doch ein gieriger Bischof vertreibt ihn und seine Mutter vom Gut um sich den Besitz unter den Nagel zu reißen.Murdo will nicht akzeptieren das der Hof verloren sein soll und reist durch das mittelalterliche Europa seinem Vater hinterher, damit dieser das Gut zurückfordern kann.Seine Abenteuer auf der Reise, eine kleine Liebesgeschichte und auch ein bisschen etwas über ein heiliges Artefakt werden erzählt.Ich mag dieses Buch, weil ich die Geschichte sehr interessant finde wie Murdo neue Länder kennenlernt. Neue Freunde findet (klingt abgedroschen) und das ausgerechnet in Mönchen, wobei er doch die Kirche allgemein einfach nicht ausstehen kann.

  • Katrin
    2019-03-27 07:41

    today i finally finished this book and it was really good. first of all i liked the historical facts, i learned a lot with this books. i also loved that the main character is form the orkney islands. there were vikings, the varangian guard, greeks, other mediterranean people and of course asian people. how amazing it seems now that those people spent years on a crusade by ship! the book is very realistic and i love that. it is very easy to see that the church did not care about lives, some greater good or the welfare of people. money and power. this is all the church ever knew. i loved the welsh monk very very much, especially when he talked about cymru. beautiful words there :) all in all an epic book, easy to follow, honest for the horrors of battle and showing many sides to the coin. good and evil, it all mingles.. the only thing i did not like were the passages about the year 1899. finally i must say i did not get the ultimate goal or purpose of this. it did not make sense or fit in, at least not to me.

  • CB
    2019-04-23 06:48

    “How long could it take to liberate the Holy Land from the slack grasp of a few Arabs?”I wasn’t very far into Stephen R. Lawhead’s The Iron Lance before things started to feel a little familiar. The irony, of course, is that the book was written in 1998, well before our current Middle-East debacle.Book I of the Celtic Crusades trilogy, The Iron Lance opens as the kings and princes of Western Europe answer the church’s call to go on crusade to the Holy Land. The book is deep in historical fiction, but not weighed down by the past. It does not, for instance, spend much time pondering the motives of Pope Urban II, the instigator of the first crusade. Instead, Lawhead weaves a three-part narrative which is enthralling and thought-provoking, especially from a current perspective.Click here to read my full review

  • Jared Leonard
    2019-04-20 13:02

    The Iron Lance, in case you aren't familiar with Catholic relics, is supposed to be the spear that was used to pierce the side of Jesus while He was on the cross. It's also called the Spear of Destiny and legend has it that the possessor of the spear is virtually invincible (of course, there are variations of its powers). During the Crusades there was an effort put forth by the Roman Church to collect the various relics associated with Christ's death. If you're interested at all in Church history and want a little taste of the reality (and brutality) of the Crusades, this novel will not disappoint. The main focus of the first book in this trilogy is on setting up the historical context of the First Crusade and creating a story within that context around the main character, Murdo Ranulfson.

  • Kiersten
    2019-04-15 05:53

    Everyone I talked to absolutely raved about this author but hadn't read this particular series. I started this book with high hopes, but found it extremely slow, even despite my interest in Byzantine and Scottish history. I liked the characters and the settings, but the combination of Lawhead's somewhat intricate writing style with the rather bleak overall plot line made it a struggle for me to get through. I also didn't make it far enough to uncover the elements of fantasy fiction, which is my favorite genre and always an interest builder. Perhaps I'll try tackling it again a few years into the future, because I've started the Pendragon Cycle (by the same author) and am completely absorbed. I think Lawhead is an author I will grow to enjoy immensely, but The Celtic Crusades just isn't the series for me right now.

  • Bladesct
    2019-04-19 06:06

    The Iron lance is a story of the celtic Crusades. Fiction. Of how christians or in the book they are called Pilgrim's. That are called to go on a pilgrimage to come together and free jerusalem from arab's. By the early church and are told that what ever sins they make will be absolved because they are on a pilgrimage to save the holy city. They journey through rome. And as ever in the bible the romen emperor just want's to help for his own gain. While some of the family member's that are left behind lose thier land's to to the early corrupt church through decit and lie's. And they in turn get replanted. A young man makes the journey to jerusalem to right the wrong and call his father home to reclaim his land. And on the journey he befriend's people that in the end reward him.

  • Michael
    2019-04-19 07:44

    A historical fiction story set in the First Crusade. 1000's AD. I enjoyed this story like I have all SL's books so far. A young man from goes on the Crusade to retake Jerusalem. (I was very interested in the sections on the Byzantine Empire. For some reason this gets the short treatment in history classes.) I know much of what is chronicled from the Crusades is true. Every man woman and child in a city killed. In Jerusalem, of all places. And I cannot help but think the Christian/Muslim feud that is still going on started here. Idiots. On both sides. There is another book that follows this one, and I will pick it up.

  • Tara
    2019-04-17 08:44

    Favorite QuotesWe could but stand aside and watch as the manifold catastrophes of man and nature wreaked havoc great and dire upon the world. In this, I began to learn something of the heroic patience of the saints. To stand aside and watch while the worst mistakes were made again and again--and always, always to the cost of those who could least afford it--was almost more than I could take. Often was the time I sought retreat, sickened in my soul over the inhumanity rampant around me.

  • Ryan K
    2019-04-12 09:01

    This book left me wanting more of a complex story line, it is good but just really straight foward. The parts of the British law assistant seemed pretty out of place and unneeded. I felt satisfied whenever I finished any parts of the other minor storyline about Emperor Alexius and later when it transferred over to the lords of the west. Would recommend it to someone who wants some history and a decent storyline.

  • Elizabeth Hill
    2019-03-31 08:53

    This is my husbands book and I started reading it as I had nothing else to read at the time. Was not expecting to get much from the book but I was mistaken. It starred off a bit slow but it didn't rake like and it had me hooked. A bit hard to believe in places but it is not supposed to be a completely factual story. I found it difficult to put it down at times. I can,t wait to read the following books in this series. Hopefully they are as captivating as this one was.

  • Peter Krol
    2019-04-02 11:02

    This was not Lawhead's best, but it was still interesting. I knew very little about the crusades before picking this up, so much of my interest was simply in the historical setting. Most of Lawhead's common elements are here: hero separated from his home, long journey, interaction with the religion of the day, portrayal of orthodox Christians as weenies and crooks, heretics are kind and compassionate.

  • Laura Ribeiro
    2019-04-07 07:56

    I really enjoyed the way the author described the Crusades...the violence inherent to those who make war for the wrong reasons under the veil of religion, and how Murdo resists doing the same although he had plenty of opportunities. He sticks to his values and embraces them....being rewarded in the end.

  • Adrianna
    2019-04-08 13:39

    I just happened to pick up this book and though it starts out a little slow it does get engrossing. The characters are engaging and left me feeling that I could be sitting with them as they went on crusade. The book follows the main character Murdo who happens to seek out the crusade to find his father and brothers due to a family injustice. I do love a good historical novel.

  • David Taylor
    2019-04-15 09:39

    This book tells the story and horror of the crusades from the eyes of a young Celtic lad. Murdro has his own agenda and fulfills it in a way her had had not foreseen. Lawhead has a way with the times. I admit I sometimes skips over his narrative to hit the high points. I know I did near the end of the book to see what happened.

  • minervasowl
    2019-04-24 10:44

    Generally speaking, I take issue with the Crusades, but I thought that since I liked Lawhead so much (especially the Pendragon cycle) I would give this book a try.No matter how good the author, I still can't get past the idea of sacking a city which was sacred not only to the supposed infidels but also to the invaders.