The Mystic Rose (Celtic Crusades Series #3)

The Mystic Rose (Celtic Crusades Series #3)

4.4 12
by Stephen R. Lawhead

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A story rich in history and imagination, here is the final volume in Stephen R. Lawhead’s magnificent saga of a Scottish noble family and its divine quest during the age of the Great Crusades.

A thousand years after its



A story rich in history and imagination, here is the final volume in Stephen R. Lawhead’s magnificent saga of a Scottish noble family and its divine quest during the age of the Great Crusades.

A thousand years after its disappearance, the Mystic Rose—the fabled Chalice of the Last Supper—has been found, and the warrior monks of the Knights Templar, led by the ruthless and corrupt Renaud de Bracineaux, will stop at nothing to possess it. One brave, dauntless, noblewoman stands in their way . . .

Born among the hills of Scotland, and raised on the Crusader tales of her grandfather, Murdo, and her father, Duncan, young Cait is determined to claim the Holy Cup for her own. Guided by a handful of clues gleaned from a stolen letter, Cait and a small band of knights follow a treacherous trail that leads from the shadowed halls of Saint Sophia into the heart of Moorish Spain and a world long unseen by Christian eyes. A journey whose end means victory . . . or death. 

Kirkus Reviews

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

Publishers Weekly
Lawhead, a prolific writer of historical novels, ably captures the colorful swirl of Crusader-era Byzantium and Spain in this final installment in his latest trilogy (The Iron Lance; The Black Rood). In Constantinople on a trip to the Holy Land, where her Scottish family has battled Saracen invaders for two generations, Celtic beauty Caitr!ona is desolate when her father is stabbed to death in the crowded cathedral of Ayia Sophia by unscrupulous Templar Renaud de Bracineaux. Eager to seek revenge, Cait steals a letter from Renaud disclosing the whereabouts of the Holy Grail, called the Mystic Rose, and sets off in her father's ship for Spain, with the Templars in hot pursuit. Romanced on the Iberian peninsula by a handsome Moorish prince, a Valentino clone lacking only a desert and a blue lens filter, Cait finds the Grail and defeats the Templars with the help of her faithful Norse sailors and the prince's men. Otherwise conventional, this historical potboiler takes an unexpected turn at its conclusion, when Cait sips "a darkly gleaming crimson liquid" from the Grail and has a vision of a da Vinci-like "Passover Feast." Blessed in the vision by a young man named Yeshua, she emerges bearing stigmata and is charged with making a distinct career change. The action drags in places, and an unnecessary early 20th-century subplot is wrapped up after the climax, but Lawhead's robust characterizations and vivid descriptions of exotic locales should satisfy fans. (Oct. 10) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Library Journal
After her father's murder in Jerusalem by the Templar knight Renaud de Bracineaux, Lady Caitriona vows to avenge his death but finds herself drawn instead into a perilous journey in search of a holy treasure known as the Mystic Rose. Christian fantasist Lawhead concludes his trilogy of faith and heroism with a tale of a determined young woman whose love for her father leads her to a higher calling. Together with the other books in the series (The Iron Lance, The Black Road), this historical fantasy is recommended for most collections. Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Final volume of the Celtic Crusades trilogy begun with The Iron Lance (1998), in which lawyer Gordon Murray was introduced as narrator of a Scottish generational saga, with Murdo Ranulfson, son of Lord Ranulf of Dyrness, Orkney, going off on the Crusades and finding the iron lance that stabbed Christ at the Crucifixion. In The Black Rood (2000), set 40 years later, Murdo's son Duncan came back with a piece of the True Cross. Now, in this volume, a lass named Caitrionia seeks the Rosa Mysticus, or the Sacred Cup of the Christ at the Last Supper. This leads to Gordon himself becoming the cup's guardian, century after century. No questions that would bother Graham Greene, but those lusting for the True Path will eat it up.

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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.

Meet the Author

Stephen R. Lawhead is an internationally acclaimed author of mythic history and imaginative fiction. His works include Byzantium and the series The Pendragon Cycle, The Celtic Crusades, and The Song of Albion. Lawhead makes his home in Austria with his wife.

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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