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Friday, September 2, 2011

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

Road from the West by Rosanne E. Lortz
Book 1 of The Chronicles of Tancred 
ARC, Paperback, 374 pages
Madison Street Publishing
September 2, 2011
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Genre: Historical Fiction

Source: Received from the author as part of Historical Fiction Virtual Blog Tour
“A tale of Courage, Conquest, Intrigue, and Honor.

You've heard of the Knights Templar, you've heard of Richard the Lionheart—now learn the story that started it all with the adventures of the First Crusade.

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.”

When you think of the Crusades you typically think of Richard I, but there were several other Crusades as well. In The Chronicles of Tancred series by Rosanne E. Lortz we follow the titular character of Tancred through the adventures and triumphs of the First Crusade. We follow our band of characters from Italy through Constantinople and, by the end of book 1, on to Antioch. The First Crusade was not merely just a quest to bring the Holy City back into the fold, but to recapture and take back many other important cities along the way. There were many different reasons to go on Crusade – increased wealth, glory, becoming a ruler of a city, and holy reason among others. This was not something that I had conceived of when thinking about the Crusades.

My issue with this book was with the characters – I didn’t feel emotionally connected with many of them and weren’t really sure of their motives. Even Tancred, our title character, I didn’t feel convinced of his zeal to go on Crusade. There are very few female characters, which is understandable for the setting of this book, but those that were present I felt were wasted a little bit. I really was starting to enjoy the character of Alexandra early on, but then she became a little bit of a sop. I have heard that in the second book, Erminia, who we meet toward the end of the first book, becomes a much more prominent character, and I hope to enjoy her more.

By the end of the book I was really looking forward to finding out what would happen next to our band of travelers as they move toward Jerusalem. I would like to learn more about what happens on this First Crusade. As I know this is a trilogy, I expect the characters will grow and become more distinctive, but I was hoping to have a little more of a connection with them after the first book.

There will also be two other books in The Chronicles of Tancred series: Flower of the Desert and Prince of the East.  If you would like to preview the story before reading it, why not try out this excerpt of the book?

Reviews of this book by other bloggers:

Buy the Book: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | RJ Julia

Also by Rosanne E. Lortz

i serve
I Serve

to wed an heiress
To Wed an Heiress

the dukes last hunt
The Duke’s Last Hunt

Find Roseanne E. Lortz: Website | Twitter | Facebook

Follow the Tour!

Make sure you stop and check out some of the other blogs participating in the blog tour:

Road from the West Tour Schedule

Friday, September 2nd
Review at The Maiden's Court [here]!

Monday, September 5th
Author Guest Post at The Maiden's Court [here]!

Tuesday, September 6th
Review at Debbie's Book Bag
Author Guest Post at From the TBR Pile

Thursday, September 8th
Review at Unabridged Chick
Review at A Journey Into Reading

Friday, September 9th
Author Guest Post at A Journey Into Reading

Monday, September 12th
Review at Broken Teepee

Tuesday, September 13th
Review at Reviews by Molly
Author Interview at Unabridged Chick

Wednesday, September 14th
Author Guest Post at Broken Teepee

Thursday, September 15th
Author Interview at Reviews by Molly

Friday, September 16th
Review at Diary of a Book Addict

Tuesday, September 20th
Review at Bibliophilic Book Blog

Wednesday, September 21st
Review at A Bookish Affair

Thursday, September 22nd
Author Guest Post at Bibliophilic Book Blog

Monday, September 26th
Review at Just One More Paragraph

Tuesday, September 27th
Review at The Musings of a Book Junkie

Wednesday, September 28th
Author Guest Post at Just One More Paragraph

Thursday, September 29th
Review at Sharon's Garden of Book Reviews

Friday, September 30th
Review at By the By Books

Monday, October 3rd
Review at Peeking Between the Pages

Tuesday, October 4th
Author Interview at The Musings of a Book Junkie

Wednesday, October 5th
Review at Bippity Boppity Book

Thursday, October 6th
Review at A Few More Pages

Friday, October 7th
Review at The Owl Bookmark Blog

Monday, October 10th
Review at Historically Obsessed

Tuesday, October 11th
Author Interview at The Owl Bookmark Blog

Wednesday, October 12th
Review at Between the Pages

Thursday, October 13th
Review at Words and Peace

Friday, October 14th
Review at The Calico Critic

Monday, October 17th
Review at Erin Reads

Wednesday, October 19th
Review at The True Book Addict

Thursday, October 20th
Author Guest Post at The True Book Addict

Copyright © 2011 by The Maiden’s Court


  1. Hmm...not sure about this one. I think it's because I am burnt out on the Crusades. Plus I like interesting female characters along the way.

  2. I would have to agree...I have read books lately that are about the crusades..good honest review..I also like to read a book that has women in it..Lol..there had to be camp followers in the Crusades right??

  3. Jenny - this was my first real Crusades book - and it was just a little dry. I have a feeling that there is a strong female character in book 2 but she was minor in book 1.

    CelticLady - They mention the camp followers in passing and there are maybe 3 women that have any role of any amount of significance - but it was very much a male dominated novel.

  4. I appreciated your comments, Heather -- I'm about a third through it and noticed the distance I feel from the characters. :/ We'll see if I click eventually.


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