Talking about the book: The Holy Lance

holy lance cover copyTitle: The Holy Lance 
Author:  Andrew Latham

A tidbit about the author
Scholar-turned-historical-fiction-writer. Andrew Latham was born in the UK, raised in Canada, and currently lives and teaches in Minnesota. He has a dog named Max who obviously has good taste in books.

The story
The year is 1191. A daring counterattack against the Saracens’ last-ditch effort to relieve the besieged city of Acre has not only saved the Christian host from a fatal defeat; it has also brought the leader of that counterattack, English Templar Michael Fitz Alan, to the attention of King Richard the Lionheart.

In the days that follow, the king charges Fitz Alan with a life-or-death mission – to recover the Holy Lance, a long-lost religious relic widely believed to be responsible for the near-miraculous success of the First Crusade.

The ensuing quest leads Fitz Alan and a hand-picked band of Templars on a journey deep into enemy territory, where they battle Saracens, Assassins, hostile Christians and even a traitor within their own ranks as they seek to return the Holy Lance to Christian hands and thereby ensure the success of the crusade.

A memorable line (or two)
“The longer you are here, Michael, the more you will be confronted by these enemies of Christ, and the more they will test and tempt you. And each time they do, you will be forced to decide which is your first love: yourself and the things of this world or God and things of the next; pride and vengeance – or humility and justice.”

“Listen closely, you men, for I’m only going to say this once. Fitz Alan’s Rule consists of only three canons, but if you violate any of these I’ll see your souls in hell. First, you kill for one reason and one reason only – to protect Christ and His Church. You will not kill for honor, hatred, property or any of the other sinful lusts of this world.”

My verdict
I have always been a fan of stories involving undercover operations. The Holy Lance fits that bill, but is so much more. Be prepared to be transported to the Holy Land in the 12th century. This is gripping historical fiction at its best. Great action, superb battle scenes, believable characters. Mr. Latham’s knowledge of historical events, people, the terrain, and life in the Middle Ages is excellent.  If the reader doesn’t know about the Knights Templar – or has preconceived notions about them based on film or myth – The Holy Lance is an wonderful primer. Turn to this book to get a truer vision of these warrior monks. For those who know their history, you’ll find a story that more accurately reflects the Templars’ role in this time period.

The main character Michael Fitz Alan is fascinating. There are hints at his past association with Richard the Lionheart. I hope Professor Latham fills in those details in the next book in the series. Bring it on!

* * * 5 stars * * *

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Sweeping battles, forbidden love, and 2 knights fighting for Richard the Lionheart
MEN OF THE CROSS
A 2014 B.R.A.G. Medallion honoree and Readers’ Favorite
Get it for Kindle & Nook and at Smashwords.
Book II of Battle Scars: For King and Country
will be published in 2015.

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