The Resource Lion heart, Justin Cartwright

Lion heart, Justin Cartwright

Lion heart
Lion heart
Statement of responsibility
Justin Cartwright
Lion heart
Investigating his self-styled hippie historian father's claims about a meeting between Richard I and Robin Hood after the Third Crusade, Richard Cathar travels from London to Jerusalem and back again while falling in love with a mysterious journalist
Story line
Writing style
  • Cartwright (Other People’s Money), winner of the Hawthornden Prize, no doubt will garner further accolades for his latest, the story of 30-something London academic Richie Cathar’s investigation into Richard the Lionheart’s quest for the True Cross. The project begins for Richie as a half-cocked plan to rebound from a breakup and, possibly, learn more about his dead father, a hippie and self-styled historian obsessed with the medieval king. It soon escalates, though, into a globe-spanning caper, complete with stops in both Jerusalem and Oxford, kidnappings, international espionage, and plenty of scandalous family secrets emerging. Richie’s story is cleverly interwoven with references to real-life events, from the finding of Richard III’s remains in a Leicester car park to the civil war in Syria. Though the plot is familiar, Cartwright’s writing has qualities not to be found in conventional thrillers like The Da Vinci Code: the pathos of Richie’s quest for family, and a self-aware, self-effacing sense of humor, as when a lover encourages Richie to write about his experiences but leave out certain plot turns, as “nobody would believe that anyway.” It’s a striking formula that gives this literary thriller uncommon depth—and makes it uncommonly satisfying. Agent: James Gill, United Agents. (Mar.) --Staff (Reviewed December 2, 2013) (Publishers Weekly, vol 260, issue 48, p)
  • In this deeply involved and involving quest tale, Cartwright (The Promise of Happiness ) parallels the story of Richie Cathar, a thirtysomething Oxford graduate trying to find his way in life, with chapters from a book Richie is writing about his namesake, Richard the Lionheart, and Richard's quest during the Third Crusade to find the True Cross. Along the way, Richie struggles to make peace with the difficult memory of his late father, a Sixties free spirit who began his own tale of Richard the Lionheart years prior. Richie's research takes him to the Middle East, where he meets the beautiful and shadowy Noor, a journalist with her own secrets that will turn Richie's life upside down after she is kidnapped in Egypt during the Arab Spring. VERDICT The diverse strands of this remarkable novel come together as our protagonist's attempts to discover where Richard left the True Cross become ever more closely linked with his own quest of self-discovery. With Richie's self-deprecating irony and keen observational sense as a starting point, Cartwright has created a work that deftly locates the parallels between the politics of the 12th century and those of the 21st but that is ultimately more about the frailties and foibles of the human heart.— Lawrence Rungren, Merrimack Valley Lib. Consortium, Andover, MA --Lawrence Rungren (Reviewed November 15, 2013) (Library Journal, vol 138, issue 21, p82)
  • What starts as a mild interest in a father's obsession turns into a quest for the "true cross" by his son. Alaric, the father of Richard "Richie" Cathar, has recently died, and Richie must come to terms with this loss. The depth of Alaric's obsession with the Lionheart is evidenced by his having named his son after the medieval king as well as by changing his name from "Carter" to "Cathar." Richie informs readers that his father was frequently on drugs and that he was ignominiously dismissed from Oxford. Richie is trying not only to figure out his relationship to his father, but also figure out his relationship to Emily, his girlfriend, who's becoming enamored with someone else. During a trip to Jerusalem to examine some manuscripts about medieval art, Richie meets and begins an affair with Noor, a Canadian journalist with a strikingly beautiful aunt, Haneen Husayni. Like his father, Richie has developed a fascination with the medieval period and begins to tease out some information about the "true cross." Meanwhile, Noor is kidnapped by a terrorist group, since she's actually a spy rather than a journalist, something unknown to Richie. With elaborate twists and turns, Richie eventually learns that Noor is his half sister, so when she is rescued from her captors, their relationship is now forbidden. Cartwright alternates chapters of Richie's gradual discoveries about historical secrets involving the "true cross" with historical information about Saladin and Richard the Lionheart--and he even gives us some poetry in the language of Occitan (thankfully providing translations). Uneven but nonetheless fascinating, especially for history and The Da Vinci Code fans.(Kirkus Reviews, November 1, 2013)
Cataloging source
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no index present
Literary form
Target audience
Justin Cartwright
Lion heart, Justin Cartwright
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Carrier MARC source
Content category
Content type MARC source
Control code
25 cm.
335 p.
Isbn Type
(alk. paper)
Media category
Media MARC source
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Library Locations

  • Delaware Main LibraryBorrow it
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