Richard - from pieces to peace

Highlights

Richard - from pieces to peace. Justin Cartwright’s latest ‘Lion Heart’ will take you along the voyage of Richard, King of England, Duke of Aquitaine, Count of Poitou and Richard Cathar.

The narrative runs like a journal of troubled souls ravaged by unforeseeable events, neither the insignificant Richie nor the Magnificent Richard was above to the games of time. One Richard helps other come to terms with whatever was left incomplete in their lives

Justin Cartwright’s latest ‘Lion Heart’ will take you along the voyage of Richard, King of England, Duke of Aquitaine, Count of Poitou and Richard Cathar. Two tales separated by 800 years run parallel to each other in his narrative. The narrative runs like a journal of troubled souls ravaged by unforeseeable events, neither the insignificant Richie nor the Magnificent Richard was above to the games of time. One Richard helps another come to terms with whatever was left incomplete in their lives.

Depths of Richard’s efforts to return to his lands in England while upholding his duty as the hand of God in the Crusades have been crafted together adding mystery to history. Driven to prove his father, Alaric Cathar, wrong or himself better than him Richie walks in his footsteps, graduates from Oxford. Richie’s life takes a turn for the worse and it is in shambles after a separation. He ploughs ahead with plans to discover the True Cross that Richard may have taken from Saladin.

Gathering his father’s research, he finds himself heading to an adventure in Jordon. He crosses paths with Noor, a Canadian Arab journalist, and a fairy tale romance ensues. Reality catches up with him, the delicate balance of the Arab world, the Christian liberal ideology and the Islamic conservatism combined with ghosts from his past upturn his life.

Distinction between the right and wrong, trust and deceit, faith and foolishness, past and present are blurred. You can’t help but be dragged into the drama of Richie’s life. People from his father’s life, Richie’s only friend from Oxford: Ed and his shifty girlfriend, give him cause to see himself, his father and their relationship in a new light.

Border line nuts and charming in a way that he himself seems to be amazed by, Richard pieces together the Journey Richard and his most favoured Retinue of Knights took through the Latin Kingdom and Back. No matter how stoic a demeanor, a person will have to register the world around him. Society’s dictums on taboo, organised espionage of various nations, philosophical ideas of individuals and anthropological pursuits of History are bound to play part in our quest to make sense of the present and self by adding meaning to the past. People tend to wriggle themselves into place of comfort in the most trying of situations.

I would give ‘Lion Heart’ a three out of five stars for its ability to cast a wide net and articulate so many subjects that instigate introspection of Life in its entirety. It is not a light read, less of fiction and more of philosophy attached to it. The low rating I attribute to it may have been only because I was unprepared for its intensity. Closure may not always be in one’s reach but it will always find you when you are least expecting it and in the most unlikely ways. This is a lesson you are left with at the end of the book. It will take some getting used to with the way the narrative keeps jumping from Richard Carter’s present to his past to Richard Coeur de Lion’s conquests and the crusades to his inner feelings about Noor and his life. But if you have the patience to hold on the reins for a few pages it is one hell of a ride with Richard Carter through the pages of History to the Treasures.


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