St. Paul, Minn. – The year is 1191.  A daring counterattack against the Saracens’ last-ditch effort to relieve the besieged city of Acre has not only saved the Christian host from a fatal defeat; it has also brought the leader of that counterattack, English Templar Michael Fitz Alan, to the attention of King Richard the Lionheart. 

In the days that follow, the king charges Fitz Alan with a life-or-death mission – to recover the Holy Lance, a long-lost religious relic widely believed to be responsible for the near-miraculous success of the First Crusade.

The Holy Lance, the first novel in Knox Robinson’s The English Templars series by Macalester Political Science Prof. Andrew Latham, was released on Tuesday, April 7, 2015. 

Latham will be reading from his book at Common Good Books at 7 p.m., Wednesday, April 29.

The ensuing quest leads Fitz Alan and a hand-picked band of Templars on a journey deep into enemy territory, where they battle Saracens, Assassins, hostile Christians and even a traitor within their own ranks as they seek to return the Holy Lance to Christian hands and thereby ensure the liberation of Jerusalem and the success of the Third Crusade.

It also leads Fitz Alan to a deeper understanding of what it means to be simultaneously a brutal warrior and a pious monk – and to an uneasy-but-tolerable reconciliation of these two warring elements of his personality.

The Holy Lance has already received advanced praise:

“Violent and visceral…. meticulously researched… superbly plotted…. The Holy Lance is historical fiction at its best!”
— Steven A. McKay, bestselling author of Wolfs Head and The Wolf and the Raven.

“A tense, atmospheric page-turner….  medieval historical fiction at its very best.”
— S.J.A. Turney, author of the Marius Mules and The Ottoman Cycle historical fiction novels.

“First-class medieval historical fiction. Well-researched, elegantly written with gripping battle scenes and excellent characterization. This is a damn good read!”
— Angus Donald, author of the best-selling Outlaw Chronicles series.

Latham is available for interviews about the book and the upcoming series.

Macalester College, founded in 1874, is a national liberal arts college with a full-time enrollment of 2,045 students. Macalester is nationally recognized for its long-standing commitment to academic excellence, internationalism, multiculturalism, and civic engagement. Learn more at

April 24 2015

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