Contemplations

What I've been thinking and what I've been reading for you to compare notes.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Byzantium


He has the kind of writing style that makes his characters so totally believable (even though the main character in this book is a 10th century monk), and the story so fascinating that you don't want to put his book down. Byzantium is about the pilgrimage of a band of Cele De monks from Ireland on a mission to deliver a prized copy of The Book of Kells to the Holy Roman Emporer in the far off capital city. What happens along the way not only makes for an exciting adventure story but also a stirring tale of the work of God across the years of our lives in the episodes that test our faith.

I guess you would classify this book as historical fiction - since monks from 10th century Ireland did end up in the situations the book depicts. But I won't give those situations away should you happen to want to read the book.

Published in 1996, I've been meaning to get to this book for some time. Glad that vacation finally afforded me the free time to enjoy this thick reading treat.

Aidan, the Irish monk whose personal struggles are chronicled in Lawhead's novel, like all of us, wrestles more with what goes on inside his heart and mind than he does with life's cruel twists of fate. I would use this story as a sermon illustration if it weren't so long and didn't have so many plot twists.

Aidan could be a Bible character; his struggles parallel those of Joseph in some ways. My favorite passage in the book is how he tells the Vikings the story of the cross in a way they can understand. I shed a few tears there - not only because I thought of the cross, but also because I long for more adventures in my own life to share the Good News with those who have yet to hear. It's a great example of cross-cultural evangelism - even though Aidan is wrestling to hold on to his faith. I think it reminded me there's a price to be paid to lay a foundation for spreading the Gospel.

This is my first foray into Lawhead's skillful storytelling. I will take another trip when the thrift store coughs up another title.

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