Monthly Archives: June 2014

The Waste Land: the Crusades, love, and war with a supernatural twist

The Waste Land is an engrossing historical novel with a supernatural twist and a veneer of a present day thriller.
A disfigured Research Assistant “discovers” an ancient manuscript dated to the First Crusade in the library of a stodgy, bankrupt English College. This manuscript apparently is the basis of Chretien de Troyes’ Roman de Perceval, the first account of the Quest for the Holy Grail. To the annoyance of the Research Assistant, the College Master enlists a now-not-so-well-selling Best-Selling Author to produce a book based upon this manuscript. The sales of the book are to bail the College out of its financial predicament.
The bulk of The Waste Land is the Best-Selling Author’s creation based upon the found manuscript. This novel is a little hackneyed at times. Having the Pope talk about glass windows as “new-fangled” seems a bit trite. Nonetheless, this alternative supernatural telling of the First Crusade through the eyes of young monk/knight Hugh kept me at my kindle. Hugh manages, at least according to the Best-Selling Author, to stay in the thick of things. His telling of the Crusader’s crucial victory at Antioch fueled by the discovery of the Holy Lance and the assistance of soldier saints is especially good. The author clearly did a lot of research.
My main complaint was that too much was left unresolved at the end, regarding both Hugh and the connection between the present day story at the College and Hugh’s tale. This forces the reader to buy the sequel to get closure.

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