The Black Rood
Stephen R. Lawhead
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“LAWHEAD KNOWS HOW TO SPIN A TALE.”
In a time of legends and heroes, blood and mystery, one man will carry on his family’s destiny as he sets upon a dangerous and glorious quest.
The Great Crusade is long over, or so Duncan, son of Murdo, believes until a long-lost uncle appears from the East bearing tales of immense treasure. Though the Iron Lance had been won for the emperor, an even holier relic has been found: the Black Rood—the prayer-worn, blood-stained remnant of the True Cross—now endangered by the greedy ambitions of ruthless crusader barons bent on carving kingdoms from the desert sands of the Middle East.
When Duncan’s life is shattered by tragedy, he sets sail on his own pilgrimage to Jerusalem, following in the footsteps of his father. But the gates to the Holy Land are guarded by the warrior priests known as the Knights Templar. These fearsome guardians hold the key to more than just Duncan’s fate—the very destiny of the West is in their hands.
“HISTORICAL DETAILS BRING THE SETTING TO ROBUST LIFE.”
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Bonds were loosed, which was a mercy in itself. The three of us were able to raise the wretch, but it was clear he could no longer walk unaided. So, we took it in turn to help him—with two holding him up between us and all but dragging him along while the third rested. When one of us became weary, the rested one would take his place, and so on. Meanwhile, our suffering comrade drifted from bad to worse. After a time, he could no longer move his feet, and so we carried him, taking his entire.
Centurion,” he said in educated Latin, “the people are right. He has only swooned—revive him, and you will see.” The executioner heard this and grew angry. “Do you call me liar?” he snarled. “By no means!” said the elder, raising his hands as if to fend off a blow. “But this Jesu was known to be a sorcerer and a magician. He may be using his powers to feign death. Do not be deceived. Rather, do your duty.” “I know my duty,” growled the big Roman, moving nearer, “just as I know a dead man when.
Arm, waved me forward. Accompanied by the guards, I was led to the pavilion steps and there made to kneel, holding the box while the strutting amir presented the resplendent onlooker with the gift of Bohemond’s head. Why he should want the grotesque thing, I could not say. But the bestowing of it filled old flat-faced Ghazi with a rare elation. His rough and weathered visage cracked wide in a grin of exaltation and, in a fit of largesse, he lavished the whole of his trove upon his obviously.
Wrong?” “I am tired,” I said. “I have not talked so much in a long time. I had forgotten how taxing it can be.” “You should rest now,” suggested Sydoni. “There are quarters below deck where you will not be disturbed.” She rose. “Come with me, I will show you.” “Yes, go with her. We can talk again this evening,” the old man said. “Sydoni, make him comfortable.” I rose to my knees and, taking up the Black Rood, placed it in Padraig’s hands—along with the responsibility of looking after it. “Do.
However, they settled here.” “In Marseilles?” I wondered. “This grows more fantastic with every word.” “Indeed,” agreed Roupen. “I have never heard that part of the tale.” “It was called Marsalla then,” Padraig explained, “a well-known Roman port. Grain and cattle were shipped from here to the East, and the trade in those days was very good. It was a fine and prosperous city—and far away from the religious intrigues and oppressions of the East. The holy family and their train of followers.