Wednesday 23 November 2016

The Tenth Region of the Night - Taylor R. Marshall - Sword and Serpent Book II

The Tenth Region of the Night
Sword and Serpent Book II
Taylor R. Marshall
Saint John Press

ISBN 9780988442573

I thought that book one in this series the Sword and Serpent was an epic story. This book takes the tale to a whole new level. This book brings to life so many saints, holy men and women of the past in a gripping story that it is simply amazing. At the writing of this review I have read 232 books so far this year and have read almost 1800 books over the last ten years, and to be honest this is the best fiction story I can recall reading. In my review of book I - I stated: “I believe that this would have been a book that both Tolkien and Lewis would have loved. I can picture the Inklings sitting with a pint discussing the story and speculating where it would go next.” And I believe they would have loved this sequel and be eagerly awaiting book III. 

Dr. Taylor Marshall writes in and around the lives of saints, drawing us back to a time when Christianity was a feared and persecuted religion. He has drawn extensively from historical sources and written this tale around truth, and around legends. He has woven together the stories of many well know saints and also a number of lesser known saints. The story focuses around Jurian (Saint George), and in this volume his trying to save his friend Minas (St. Christopher), but we also encounter Catherine of Alexandria, Saint Helena, and a young man who will eventually become Saint Augustine. This book continues directly from the first volume. Jurian is on a quest to rescue his friend, and has found favor with the Diocletian. He is trying to gain favor in the court so he can get freedom for Minas. But an old shadow from his past has reappeared and soon he is locked in a battle of the wills and wits with Casca. But both have found favor with the emperor and Jurian must be both cautious and brave.   

The mix of myth, fantasy, and history blend incredibly well in this book. While reading it you feel transported back to the ancient Roman Empire and the story has staying power. I find myself reflecting on it often. The images will become imbedded in your heart and mind. The saints whose lives are portrayed will become inspiration for your heart. And the reverence with which the story is written will nourish your spirit. Few books that I read do an equally good job of feeding mind, body and spirit. This book however does. Tolkien when speaking about myth stated: “We have come from God, and inevitably the myths woven by us, though they contain error, will also reflect a splintered fragment of the true light, the eternal truth that is with God. Indeed only by myth-making, only by becoming 'sub-creator' and inventing stories, can Man aspire to the state of perfection that he knew before the Fall. Our myths may be misguided, but they steer however shakily towards the true harbour, while materialistic 'progress' leads only to a yawning abyss and the Iron Crown of the power of evil.” But Taylor Marshall has but his myths upon the truth from Christian traditions. Tolkien also said: ““After all, I believe that legends and myths are largely made of 'truth', and indeed present aspects of it that can only be received in this mode; and long ago certain truths and modes of this kind were discovered and must always reappear.” And as such Marshall reveals the truth through his mythic retelling of the story of Saint George. 

As stated this book is the best of the last 1800 books I have read! It is wonderful. It will be appreciated by those who are into historical fiction. Buy those who are Christian or Catholic and want a real glimpse of what like would have been like prior to Christianity becoming an approved religion. It is an epic story and that really is the best kind!

Books by Taylor R. Marshall:
Thomas Aquinas in 50 Pages: The Layman's Quick Guide to Thomism
Saint Augustine in 50 Pages: The Layman's Quick Guide to Augustinianism
God's Birthday: Why Christ Was Born on December 25 and Why it Matters

Infiltration: The Plot to Destroy the Church from Within
The Rosary in 50 Pages: The Layman’s Quick Guide to Mary’s Psalter

Sword and Serpent Series:
Sword and the Serpent
The Tenth Region of the Night
Storm of Fire and Blood

The Origins of Catholic Christianity Series:
The Crucified Rabbi: Judaism and the Origins of Catholic Christianity
The Catholic Perspective on Paul: Paul and the Origins of Catholic Christianity
The Eternal City: Rome & the Origins of Catholic Christianity

(Note: this books is part of a series: A Year of Reading Intention - Catholic Reading!)


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