The Iron Lance is the first in the Celtic Crusades Trilogy. I have really enjoyed Lawhead’s works after being introduced to them by a couple of friends a few years back. In fact, since my return to fiction 2 years ago I have read more of Lawhead than all other fiction authors combined. So I might be a bit biased.
While I would give it five stars the book did seem to start off a big slow and it took me at least 60 or 70 pages to really get into it. The other down side is that I felt like you could have removed 150 of the 641 pages without taking too much out of the story.
That being said, of what I have read, this is perhaps Lawhead’s best work of historical fiction in trying keep to the facts of history as we understand them and weave a great story into the mix. He shows the awful side of the Church as it existed around 1095 to 1100 and doesn’t sugar coat anything. At the same time he lifts up the Cele De as a group that tried to follow the teachings of Christ where they differed from the Church. He also shows the realistic struggles of the protagonist as moves from disdain for the church to a growing faith.
The history of the first Crusade is intriguing in itself but the characters in the The Iron Lance make it a wonderful read.