This is the story of a young Celtic woman, Catroina, in the middle ages. He journeys to the Holy Land with her father, where he is murdered by an old enemy. This old enemy happens to be one of the famous and powerful Knights Templar. Catroina manages to take from a Knight a document that mentions the Mystic Rose, also known as the Holy Grail. She teams up with some displaced Norsemen and sets off on a chase to the treasure.
This report prepared by R. Ford
Stephen R Lawhead
HarperCollins, Oct 2001, 25.00, 432 pp.
Knights Templar Commander Renaud de Bracineaux kills his enemy without a second thought of remorse. The daughter of his latest victim, Caitriona is heartbroken that the merciless Renaud killed her father, a Celtic Crusader. Seeking vengeance for this unnecessary murder, Caitriona purloins a letter from Renaud that claims to name the location of THE MYSTIC ROSE, known in many circles as the Holy Grail.
Caitriona decides to find THE MYSTIC ROSE in Spain, but Renaud gives chase. War between the Infidel Moors and the Pope's Army of God occurs on the Iberian Peninsular adding danger to Caitriona's quest. However, ultimately the real peril is when Renaud and the Templars catch up to battle with Caitriona and her Celtic soldiers even as she drinks from the Holy Grail.
The deep descriptions of this novel are a two edged sword. They give readers a wonderful look at the past in fascinating yet extrinsic locales rarely used in literature, but also slows down the action. The story line is deep and for the most part moves forward rapidly though a modern day subplot seems bizarrely out of context. Still Caitriona is an intrepid soul whose actions make the plot succeed for those readers who relish a rich historical novel.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner