Thursday, October 6, 2011

Book Review: Road from the West by Rosanne E. Lortz

  • Road from the West

  • By: Rosanne E. Lortz

  • Pub. Date: September 2011

  • Publisher: Madison Street Publishing

  • Format: Paperback , 360pp  

  • ISBN-13: 9780983671909

  • ISBN: 0983671907

  • Source: ARC from publisher through Historical Fiction Book Tours

  • Synopsis:

    Haunted by guilt from the past and nightmares of the future, a young Norman named Tancred takes the cross and vows to be the first to free Jerusalem from the infidels. As he journeys to the Holy Land, he braves vast deserts, mortal famine, and the ever-present ambushes of the enemy Turks—but the greatest danger of all is deciding which of the Crusader lords to trust. A mysterious seer prophesies that Tancred will find great love and great sorrow on his journey, but the second seems intent on claiming him before he can find the first. Intrigues and passions grow as every battle brings the Crusaders one step closer to Jerusalem. Not all are destined to survive the perilous road from the West.

    My Review:

    I must admit that I know shamefully little about the Crusades, so when I was offered the opportunity to read Roseanne Lortz's Road from the West, I was excited to find out it was about the First Crusade. Road from the West is the first book in the trilogy Chronicles of Tancred.

    Road from the West follows Tancred, a young Marqus from the west. Tancred is out fighting alonside his Uncle Bohemond one day when he has a revelation. The men he is killing are all Christians and it must be a sin for Christians to fight other Christians. Tancred has also been having dreams where he is condemned on Judgement Day because of his sins. In an abrupt moment of clarity for Tancred, he stops fighting and calmly leaves the battlefield. From there, Tancred travels to Rome to speak to Pope Urban to learn how to cleanse his soul.

    Pope Urban convinces Tancred to join in his call for a crusade to rid Jerusalem of the Muslim infidels and reclaim all the lands gained on the journey for Christians. Tancred is won over b Pope Urban's call and leaves to tell his Uncle of his new mission. Then Tancred learns that Bohemond is also joining the crusades, but not for religious reasons. Bohemond wants to gain land, wealth, and titles from himself. Regardless of motive, they set off with their troops following along together with some other western troops who also heeded the call for the crusade.

    Lortz's narrative is wonderfully written. The writing is very simple, but in a good way. I felt that this section of history, which is almost 1000 years old, was fresh and easily understandable for today's reader. The actions, descriptions, and motives of most of the characters are clear and concise. Also, it felt well researched and I learned a lot about some major players of the crusades. Road from the West is a entertaining and informative read. However, I do think that the book lacked some emotion for the reader to relate to the characters. So, while I'm interested in Tancred's adventures, it's more of a passive or intellectual interest rather than an emotional need to make sure that he survives the crusade.

    Road from the West is the first book of a trilogy. As I finished this book last night, I was ready to jump right into the second book. I don't know when the next book will be released, but I'm looking forward to it!

    My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
    I received one copy of Road from the West for free to review. This did not affect my review in any way and I did not receive any other compensation for my review.

    Event Hashtag for Tour: #RoadFromTheWestVirtualBookTour


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