Tuesday, May 15, 2012
The organism of a literary series owns a curious personality. One may birth well, but struggle to keep its pace, its conclusion hinting that author was relieved when it finally ended. Another begins a little off-balance, perhaps from too much anticipation of its conclusion, but matures from volume to volume until it ends with so strong a finale, you sense the author wished it hadn't--and the reader empathizes. Others begin to languish soon after the beginning, dragging on from volume to seemingly endless volume until you give up and set it aside before you even find out what the conclusion might have been. Mr. Lewis' Biblical-fiction series, "The Seeds of Christianity," displays a unique personality as well: a solid start with Witness, acceleration and anticipation through Disciple and Apostle, finally a heart-wrenchingly poignant finale with Martyr. Just what you want from a series.
Mr. Lewis has novelized the founding and early growth of the 1st-Century Church with an excellent blend of meticulously researched fact, and well-written, imaginative fiction. Remaining true to the Scriptural account, we experience with Rivka and Shemu'el the Incarnation, Crucifixion and Resurrection, then travel with them to Antioch and finally Rome with Peter, Paul, Mark, Barnabas. Mr. Lewis provides us with fascinating renderings of the early church fathers, but he delivers the real joy through a solid supporting cast of fictional characters whose lives reflect the uncertainties, frailties, victories, and failures of our own--those to whom we can relate when the historical heroes of the faith seem so much bigger than life.
Martyr presents a very satisfying conclusion to the series, tempering the poignancy and sadness implied by the title with the certainty of hope we have not only through the arc of the story, but the knowledge of church history. Vividly portrayed, deeply instructive, emotionally satisfying; there is much to commend the entire series. It's a journey that will change you--for the better.
Martyr is available in both softcopy or in eBook versions.—Bruce Judisch
Paperback: 330 pages
Publisher: Cape Arago Press (February 20, 2012)