The Holy Lance Blog Tour and Review

02_The Holy Lance_Cover
The Holy Lance by Andrew Latham
Publication Date: March 24, 2015 Knox Robinson Publishing Formats: eBook, Hardcover 
Pages: 360 
Series: The English Templars (Book One) 
Genre: Historical Fiction/Middle Ages 
Source: Author/Publisher for an honest review

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 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.

Early Praise for The Holy Lance

"A timely and compelling novel. The Crusades inform and often infect our understanding of the contemporary Middle East, and while this book is fiction it reveals much of the truth about that misunderstood era. Outstanding reading." - Michael Coren, award-winning television host, radio personality, syndicated columnist, and best-selling author of fourteen books, including most recently The Future of Catholicism

"A fascinating and thrilling story played out under the boiling heat of Palestine at a time when two cultures clashed violently over the ultimate prize of Jerusalem. Andrew Latham has created a believable and sympathetic lead character in the Templar Fitz Alan as well as providing us with a thrilling insight into the mysteries of the Templar order. A most enjoyable tale, like that of an experienced jongleur, set against the personal conflict between Richard of England and Saladin. It vividly resurrects the life and death struggle between Saracen and Crusader." - Dr. Paul Doherty, OBE, historian and critically acclaimed author of dozens of works of historical fiction, including The Templar, The Templar Magician and most recently The Last of Days

"Grizzled warriors, an epic conflict, a fabled quest: Latham's engrossing tale of violence and faith careens savagely through the Third Crusade and its legendary clash of wills - 'Coeur de Lion' versus 'Saladin', 'Frank' versus 'Saracen'. The splendid English Templar, Michael Fitz Alan - flawed, fearless, lethal - here joins the front rank of historical fiction's greatest warriors."- Dr. Dean F. Oliver, award-winning author, director of research at the Canadian Museum of History, and Knight of the Order of Orange-Nassau

"Violent and visceral. . . meticulously researched. . .  superbly plotted. . . The Holy Lance is historical fiction at its best!" - Steven A. McKay, bestselling author of Wolf?s Head and The Wolf and the Raven

"If you're looking for an historical adventure soaked in blood. . . The Holy Lance delivers. . . Latham shows a welcome attention to the complexities of the Crusader world and to the details of Templar life. A satisfying amount of blood is shed as Michael Fitz Alan and his Templar troops battle their way towards their goal. And the book offers a rousing conclusion, with the promise of more to come. Bring it on!" - Jack Hight, author of The Saladin Trilogy

My Take:


The Holy Lance by Andrew Latham is a short, but exciting tale that introduces the reader to a worthy Templar knight by the name of Michael Fitz Alan. Fitz Alan is flawed and troubled by his past, but loyal and determined to fulfill his duty. Once I got all the players figured out, I was completely pulled into the story.

I liked that although Fitz Alan has a violent past as a knight, he seems to truly want to change - now he only fights for his faith. He is obviously trying to outrun something in his past, and while what that might be is only hinted at, I am hopeful that there will be more information in the following books. Fitz Alan is an intriguing character with nuance and complexity - he is a knight with all that entails, but not one from a fairy tale.

There is much violence and bloodshed and both sides - Saracen and Christian - feel they are on the right side. I appreciated that neither side is portrayed as wholly good or wholly evil. There are loyal companions and disloyal traitors in both camps. There are so many factions and groups within groups that it is wonderfully complex and hard to decide who exactly is a good guy - if there is such a thing.

From approximately the half way point on, I was hard pressed to make myself put the book down --- I was thoroughly caught up in the tale. I loved the detailed descriptions of the battles and daily life on crusade. I am excited at the prospect of reading more about Fitz Alan's adventures and I hope that the next book will include more about the Hospitallers and the Assassins as well as the Templars. The Holy Lance should appeal to anyone who enjoys historical fiction that takes place during the Crusades, Richard of England, the Templars, military fiction and just historical fiction in general. I am looking forward to the next installment of The English Templars Series.



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About the Author

03_Andrew Latham_AuthorKnox Robinson author Andrew A. Latham is an award-winning professor of International Relations who regularly teaches courses in medieval political thought, international relations, and war. Trained as a Political Scientist, Latham has spent the last decade-and-a-half researching political violence in the Middle Ages. He has written scholarly articles on medieval war, the crusades, jihad, and the political thought of Saint Augustine and Saint Thomas Aquinas. His most recent book is a work of non-fiction entitled Theorizing Medieval Geopolitics: War and World Order in the Age of the Crusades. Latham was born in England, raised in Canada and currently lives in the United States. He graduated from York University in Toronto with a BA (Honours) in Political Science, later earned an MA from Queen?s University in Kingston and, later yet, a PhD from his alma mater, York. Latham is a member of the Historical Novel Society, the Historical Writers? Association and De Re Militari: The Society For Medieval Military History. Since 1997 Latham has been a member of the Political Science Department at Macalester College in Saint Paul, Minnesota, where he where he lives with his wife Wendy, daughter Bernadette and son Michael. For more information and updates, please visit Andrew Latham's website. You can also find him on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.

The Holy Lance Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, May 4
Guest Post & Giveaway at Let Them Read Books

Thursday, May 7
Guest Post & Giveaway at Teddy Rose Book Reviews Plus More

Friday, May 8
Guest Post at The Writing Desk

Sunday, May 10
Review at With Her Nose Stuck in a Book

Monday, May 11
Review at A Book Geek
Spotlight at A Literary Vacation

Tuesday, May 12
Spotlight at Just One More Chapter

Wednesday, May 13
Review at Book Lovers Paradise
Spotlight at CelticLady's Reviews

Thursday, May 14
Guest Post at Book Lovers Paradise

Friday, May 15
Review at Bookramblings
Review at Flashlight Commentary
Review & Giveaway at Words and Peace

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Comments

  1. Great review, BookGeek. I couldn't agree more with your assessment. I cannot wait to read the next book in this series.

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