Justin Cartwright knows how to craft a gripping tale. "Lion Heart" takes the reader back and forth between modern day London and Oxford and the Holy Land of the 12th Century. Richard is an academic whose father has been obsessed with Richard the Lionheart and his time spent in Jerusalem fighting the forces of Saladin in the Third Crusade. Richard inherits his father's fascination with the search for the True Cross that history says may have been recovered from Saladin by Richard.
The arc of the novel follows Richard's research as he uncovers documents and clues that lead him ever closer to the truth of what happened almost a thousand years ago. In the midst of this academic pilgrimage, he falls in love with Noor, but unimaginable complications ensue when his fiancee is kidnapped in Cairo. The stoutness of Richard's own heart is tested as he balances his quest for knowledge of the past with the quest to come to grips with the complication of his personal life in the present.
Places and persons are rendered by the author in exquisite detail. The story is beautifully written. This novel is a delight and a worthwhile journey.