When going through my “to be read” list of books to choose which one to read next, I often allow myself to be swayed by the chatter on various social media outlets. The Holy Lance was one of those where the chatter almost compelled me to read it. One of the things that drew me in was the fact that the author is an acclaimed historian; something that I have found to enhance any historical-fiction they write. Besides, I like to support those who have taken up the profession of Historian as I am a self acclaimed amateur one (was my major in college back in the early 70’s). Now, when you couple all of that with the history of the region and the current climate of terror and hatred, it became a no brainer to read a book about the Crusade under Richard the Lionheart.
Rumor has it that the spear that pierced the side of Jesus was hidden away in a remote Lazar House deep in Saracen held territory. Richard wants it; his rivals want to keep it from him; Saladin wants to keep it from any Crusader. This sets up a remarkable tale of a troop of Templars led by Michael Fitz Alan who infiltrate Saracen territory in order to claim the relic for Richard. The main protagonist, Fitz Alan, is a mighty warrior of Christ, fearless in his pursuit of and in the killing of the unbelievers. He is also possessed of a troubled mind and soul who struggles each day with his past. This is one of the strong points in the book, the author’s portrayal of these Templar Knights as men who hold firmly to the belief that their very souls depend on strict adherence to their Rule. The story is replete with exciting action, dramatic turns of events and in my opinion gives a brief on why we continue to war in that area of the world to this day. A 5 star effort for this, the first book in the series. Hooverbookreviews says, ‘get ready to read, you may learn something.’ 🙂
About the author:
Knox Robinson author Andrew A. Latham is an award-winning professor of International Relations who regularly teaches courses in medieval political thought, international relations, and war. Trained as a Political Scientist, Latham has spent the last decade-and-a-half researching political violence in the Middle Ages. He has written scholarly articles on medieval war, the crusades, jihad, and the political thought of Saint Augustine and Saint Thomas Aquinas. His most recent book is a work of non-fiction entitled Theorizing Medieval Geopolitics: War and World Order in the Age of the Crusades.
Latham was born in England, raised in Canada and currently lives in the United States. He graduated from York University in Toronto with a BA (Honours) in Political Science; later he earned an MA from Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario; and later yet, he earned a PhD from his alma mater, York.
Latham is a member of the Historical Novel Society, the Historical Writers’ Association and De Re Militari: The Society For Medieval Military History.
Since 1997 Latham has been a member of the Political Science Department at Macalester College in Saint Paul, Minnesota, where he where he lives with his wife Wendy, daughter Bernadette and son Michael.