The Mystic Rose (Celtic Crusades Series #3)

The Mystic Rose (Celtic Crusades Series #3)

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by Stephen R. Lawhead

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Stephen R. Lawhead's Celtic Crusades saga has won widespread critical acclaim and a legion of loyal readers. Now, he returns with the final volume in this magnificent series — a tale rich in history and imagination, filled with danger, betrayal, courage, and faith, as the third generation of a Scottish noble family continues its eternal quest to secure the

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Stephen R. Lawhead's Celtic Crusades saga has won widespread critical acclaim and a legion of loyal readers. Now, he returns with the final volume in this magnificent series — a tale rich in history and imagination, filled with danger, betrayal, courage, and faith, as the third generation of a Scottish noble family continues its eternal quest to secure the divine on earth, and preserve humankind's last true hope for salvation.

While undergoing the initiation into the highest order of a secret religious society, Scottish lawyer Gordon Murray discovers the greatest revelation of all ...

A thousand years after its disappearance, the Mystic Rose, which is the fabled Grail — the Chalice of the Last Supper — has been found, and the Knights Templar will stop at nothing to possess it. Led by the ruthless and corrupt Renaud de Bracineaux, the warrior monks embark on a dangerous and deceitful quest to find the Holy Cup.

Only one person stands in their way: Cait, a young woman from the windswept hills of northern Scotland. Raised on the Crusader tales of her grandfather, Murdo, and her father, Duncan, the redoubtable Cait has determined to claim the prize for her own.

The trail is long, and it is treacherous. Guided only by a handful of coded clues gleaned from a stolen letter, Cait and her small band of knights will make their way from the shadowed halls of Saint Sophia to the marble palaces of Aragon, from Constantinople to Santiago de Compostela and beyond, deep into the heart of Moorish Spain and a world unseen by Christian eyes for over four hundred years.

Thus begins a race which quickly escalates into a battle of wits, will, and might between two implacable, cunning, and resourceful foes for the possession of the most valuable object in all Christendom: the Mystic Rose.

Magnificent and breathtaking in scope, The Celtic Crusades traces the epic tale of one family fighting for its faith during one of the bloodiest epochs in history, and with The Mystic Rose delivers a powerful and moving climax to this unique and compelling historical adventure. Vividly interweaving the history of our own tumultuous time with events from long ago, and brilliantly blending sheer, visceral storytelling excitement with a powerful sweeping vision of human destiny, Stephen R. Lawhead concludes his thrilling trilogy of a Scottish noble family during the age of the Crusades and the secret society whose hidden ceremonies have shaped our world.

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Editorial Reviews

The Barnes & Noble Review
The Mystic Rose, an exciting entry in Stephen R. Lawhead's popular Celtic Crusades saga, chronicles the quest for the Holy Cup, the vessel used by Jesus during his last Passover feast with his disciples. Along with her father and her younger sister, Caitriona travels to the Holy Land to revisit the lands her father had been to so many years before on a holy pilgrimage. While in Constantinople, Cait witnesses the murder of her father by Renaud de Bracineaux, Grand Commander of the Knights Templar. Despite her father's last wishes, she vows to avenge his murder. With the helpful guidance of the White Priest, she steals a note from Bracineaux revealing his plan to remove the Blessed Cup in Aragon from the advancement of the infidel Moors. Cait seizes on this opportunity to squelch the Templars' selfish scheme and seeks to get the holy relic for herself. She stops in Damascus and pays the ransom for four Norse Knights -- for protection -- and continues on to Aragon, seeking her prize. But her travels bring unforeseen perils and obstacles at every turn.

Lawhead has a talent for blending history, Christianity, and adventure into an incredibly moving story -- a great novel and a great series. Paul Goat Allen

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HarperCollins Publishers
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Celtic Crusades Series , #3
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Chapter One

August 27, 1916: Edinburgh, Scotland

A young woman of my acquaintance saw a ghost. Ordinarily, I would not have given such a melodramatic triviality even passing notice, save for two pertinent facts. One: the ghost appeared in broad daylight at the same country house where my wife and I had been staying that very weekend, and two: the ghost was Pemberton.

What made this eerie curiosity more peculiar still was the fact that the specter materialized in the room we would have occupied if my wife had not come down with a cold earlier that day, thus necessitating our premature departure. We returned to the city so she might rest more comfortably in her own bed that night. Otherwise, we would surely have witnessed the apparition ourselves, and spared Miss Euphemia Gillespie, a young lady of twenty, and the daughter of one of the other guests who was staying that weekend, with whom my wife and I were reasonably well acquainted.

Rumor had it that Miss Gillespie was woken from her nap by a strange sound to find a tall, gaunt figure standing at the foot of her bed. Dressed in a dark suit of clothes, and holding his hat in his hands, he was, she reported, soaking wet, " if he had been caught in a fearsome shower without his brolly." The young lady took fright and issued a cry of surprise, whereupon the apparition introduced himself, apologized, and promptly vanished with a bewildered expression on his face.

Be that as it may, the full significance of this event did not truly strike home until word of Pemberton's death reached us twodays later, along with news of the loss of RMS Lusitania in the early afternoon of May 7, 1915, roughly the time when his ghost was seen by Miss Gillespie.

This ghostly manifestation might have made a greater stir if it had not been so completely overshadowed by the sinking of the Lusitania. The daily broadsheets were full of venomous outrage at this latest atrocity: a luxury liner torpedoed without warning by a German U-boat, taking almost twelve hundred civilian souls to a watery grave. The Edinburgh Evening Herald published a list of the missing drawn from the ship's manifest. Among those who had embarked on the trip to Liverpool from New York were a few score Americans; the rest were Europeans of several nationalities. Pemberton's name was on the list. Thus, while the rest of the world contemplated the fact that the war had taken a sinister turn, I mourned the death of a very dear and close friend.

I pondered the meaning of the spectral portent and, no doubt, would have given the matter its due consideration, but I was very soon distracted by the precipitous and worrying decline in my wife's health. The chill which she contracted that day in the country had grown steadily worse, and by the time the doctor diagnosed influenza, it was too late. My dearest, beloved helpmate and partner of forty-four years passed away two days later.

Within the space of a week, I had lost the two most important people in my life. I was bereft and broken. Where I might have expected to rely upon one to help me through the death of the other, I had neither. Both were gone, and I was left behind to struggle on as best I could. The children were some comfort, it is true; but they had busy lives of their own, and were soon called back to their affairs, leaving me to flounder in quiet misery.

Following my dear Caitlin's funeral, I attempted to resume my work at the firm, but quickly found that there was no joy or solace to be had in the to-ing and fro-ing of the legal trade. In truth, I had for some time been deriving little pleasure from the practice of my profession. Now, however, I found the whole enterprise so grindingly tedious that it was all I could do to maintain civil relations with my younger colleagues. I endured the daily agony for three months and then retired.

All through this time, I had been wondering over the future of the Brotherhood. I daily expected the summons, but it never came. I suppose I began to feel as if the death of our leader had dealt a killing blow to our clandestine organization -- in my sorry state of mind it would not have surprised me greatly, I confess. However, the wheels of our Order may grind slowly, but they grind exceedingly fine.

Owing to the unfortunate circumstances surrounding Pemberton's death, we of the Inner Circle could not officially recognize our leader's demise until certain protocols had been observed. I understand that now; I didn't then.

Also, owing to the war, Evans -- our esteemed Second Principal -- adopted a cautious and conservative policy. It would not have been the first time a passenger listed as missing at sea later turned up alive and well. So, we waited until there could be no doubt, and prepared to mourn the death of our inestimable leader in our own way.

Meanwhile, I became a man of enforced leisure. With plenty of idle hours on my hands, I filled my time with little tasks and such chores as I deemed needful or pleasing, and kept an increasingly anxious eye out for the daily post -- waiting for the summons I knew must come at some point.

Spring passed into summer, and the days lengthened. News of the war in Europe -- the Great War, the newspapers were calling it -- grew more and more dismal by degrees. I forced myself to read the accounts, and was sickened by them; the more so, I suppose, because my own life was sliding into a season of desperate unhappiness. I naturally found myself pondering the recent tragic events.

Time and again, I wrapped myself in melancholy, recalling some happy time I had...

The Mystic Rose. Copyright © by Stephen Lawhead. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

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Mystic Rose (Celtic Crusades Series #3) 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 11 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have reah all of his books. Love the way his series continue on through generations. It pulls you into the live and times of each person and you find you do not want it end. Can not wait until his next release. Love , love, love them all.
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Leah Norton More than 1 year ago
It started slower than the others in this series but finally got going at the end and rushed to a very satisfying ending. Worth the read.
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Guest More than 1 year ago
These are dark times in the days of the Crusades. When Duncan father of Cait mets an uncertain end. Cait learns of her fathers enemy and she vows vengance .In doing this, she steals a document containing the whereabouts of the The MYSTIC ROSE.As this mystic and action packed story unfolds our heroes are led to the arid and moutanious regions of Spain. Moors,a prince,and the Knights Templar are following, as Cait and her band of norse kights protect her on the dangerous path to the most sacred relic in all history,the MYSTIC ROSE!!! This book and it's two other titles The Iron Lance,and The Black Rood,are all great works of historical adventure and heroism.I would recommend the Celtic Crusade Trilogy to all readers who love,historical detail,love,and heroism.
harstan More than 1 year ago
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.

Harriet Klausner