#75 review: Road from the West

Road from the West:

Book I of the Chronicles of Tancred


Rosanne E. LORTZ

360 pages

Published in September 2011 by Madison Street Publishing

I received this book for free to review for


The Middle Ages is by far my most favorite period in history, and I enjoy very much medieval historical fiction. So it was really a treat to be invited on this wonderful Virtual Book Tour.

Though I read a lot on later Crusades, I knew almost nothing on the first one, which is the setting of this new series, and especially of this first volume. I think the author did a fantastic job at retelling the historical setting and what happened with lots of accuracy – I read since a few things on this crusade to compare (you could read this article for a first introduction). I especially enjoy the way she focuses on the character of Tancred. She manages to make him a very human and lively character, inserting in the novel some elements of romance which fit nicely.

My only problem is comparisons I can’t avoid making: this year, I also read another historical series set as well in the Middle Ages, though earlier, and in England. But it is equally focuses on one fascinating character, and there are lots of battles there. If you follow my blog closely, you have guessed I am talking about Uhtred, in Bernard Cornwell’s The Saxon Chronicles Series. Uthred’s character is not too different from Tancred’s. Their goal may not be very different. They both have a close assistant friend, and romance is much present with a few interesting female characters.

Cornwell is a seasoned writer, with thousands of pages published, so I admit it is really unfair to compare Lortz to him. I found her writing not as detailed as his. This is very noticeable in the battle scenes, which are very pale, too quick, and not detailed enough in Lortz’s book. With Cornwell, you can almost smell the blood, and you cringe with every blow, as if you were there receiving them.

But had I not read Cornwell before Lortz, I would have been very satisfied. In any case, it is still a very good book, and I AM looking forward to reading the second volume and Tancred’s entrance in to Jerusalem at last, maybe…

If you enjoy the Middle Ages, historical fictions, and the Crusades, this title needs to be added right away to your TBR.


Haunted by guilt from the past and nightmares of the future, a young Norman named Tancred takes the cross and vows to be the first to free Jerusalem from the infidels. As he journeys to the Holy Land, he braves vast deserts, mortal famine, and the ever-present ambushes of the enemy Turks—but the greatest danger of all is deciding which of the Crusader lords to trust. A mysterious seer prophesies that Tancred will find great love and great sorrow on his journey, but the second seems intent on claiming him before he can find the first. Intrigues and passions grow as every battle brings the Crusaders one step closer to Jerusalem. Not all are destined to survive the perilous road from the West. [Goodreads]


Rosanne E. Lortz is a Reformed Christian, a medieval enthusiast, and a native of Portland, Oregon. She graduated from New St. Andrews College. in 2005 with a B. A. in Liberal Arts and Culture. For the last five years, she has taught classes in history, literature, and music at King’s Academy, a small private school in Oregon City, Oregon. She married David Spears in December of 2009 and gave birth to two adorable twin boys in November of 2010. She is currently at work on her latest novel, Road from the West, an adventure set during the First Crusade.

Her website features her previous books and other interesting elements.


The best is to go visit the Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tour, where you have the list of all the bloggers who reviewed this book. The tour started on September 2nd and runs until October 20th.

Twitter Event Hashtag for Tour: #RoadFromTheWestVirtualBookTour


8 thoughts on “#75 review: Road from the West

  1. Honestly, I was almost glad Lortz didn’t go into so much detail as you often get in historical novels. I found it refreshing to get a sense of the time without having every little thing laid out in words. I can see where someone who loves the detail would miss it in Road from the West, though. I enjoyed getting to learn about Tancred in this one.


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  3. I seem to have a love-hate relationship with Cornwell’s books… so I dunno, perhaps I would enjoy this one? Thanks for sharing your thoughts!


    • That’s easier style, and less rough than Cornwell’s for sure. Tell me, what is it you love, and what is it you hate in Cornwell’s books? which ones have you read? so far, I have only read his Saxon Chronicles.


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