- By Stephen Lawhead
- Publisher: HarperTorch
- ISBN #006001282
- 592 Pages
- Price: $4.50
- Purchase this book here.
Boy, where to begin. This book totally enveloped me, and I feel like trying to describe it would be like trying to describe the color blue. Let me first lay some groundwork.
The first Lawhead book I ever read was Taliesin, and it was amazing. I quickly read Merlin and Arthur thereafter, and went back and started with his first books. Then years later I read Byzantium, and I realized a progression in the maturity of Lawhead’s writing.
His fist books felt like they were written for 14 year olds. They were good, but simple. The Pendragon cycle felt like pretty common fare for fantasy in the late 80’s and 90’s, with a wonderful Christian twist. The kind where non-Christian cynics would be intrigued, rather than put off.
With Byzantium I experienced something akin to a real life experience. The main character was not a hero or champion, though at times he shone, along with the times he was a coward. He both praised and cursed God, rose above it all, and was smashed down. It was often hard to read.
Patrick is in the same vein. I anticipated a book about Patrick The Great, the wise and powerful leader of Christianity in Ireland. What I got was the story of Patrick the whining pagan, who hated God for destroying his life. His burning goal is to achieve freedom, and once he gets it, it’s ashes in his mouth. He moves through life as a bitter, disillusioned young man. Only in the last several pages of the book did I get what I thought I would find, Patrick The Great.
I don’t want to leave you with the impression that this is an eternally depressing book, but it’s certainly not all sweetness and light. There’s excitement, adventure, and Lawhead’s ever intriguing historical perspective.
I highly recommend it for the serious reader.