Friday 19 May 2017

The King's Prey: Saint Dymphna of Ireland - Susan Peek

The King's Prey: Saint Dymphna of Ireland
Susan Peek
Seven Swords Publications

ISBN 9780997000573

This was the second book by Susan Peek that I have read this spring. And I have already started another. I was even more impressed with this book that I was when I read Saint Magnus The Last Viking, which I thought was an excellent read. This book was compelling and addictive right from the beginning. I love this book and other writing by Susan Peek, who brings to life some lesser known saints. 

This book begins with a statement from the author:

“In many chapels,
reddened by the setting sun,
the saints rest silently,
waiting for someone to love them.”

“These words, penned by an unknown priest, long dead,
were the inspiration for this series on the lives of saints
who have fallen deep into the shadows of obscurity.
My hope is that, in reading their heroic stories,
you will make the acquaintance of some of
God's Forgotten Friends”

And this book does an amazing job of doing just that, she brings to life both Saint Dymphna and Saint Gerebran. This book deals with a number of mental health issues. Flashbacks, Blackouts, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, and a madness brought on by grief. And it does so without trivializing and of the conditions it is presenting. It also deals with broken families or at least families with great divides and a great number of misunderstandings. 

This book was a fascinating read. Both for the time it was set, and the story it tells. But there were times where it was not an easy read. It all starts with a mad king who wants to marry his daughter and rename her to replace her mother. That princess in trying to escape her father’s illness flees to a cottage, and draws in a young musician and her husband. Follow this trio as they garner the aid of a priest and begin the journey to find freedom. This is the story of two very brutal martyrdom’s. But it is also an inspiring story. 

I recommend this book and this series. Susan Peek does an amazing job of bringing lesser known saints to life. Though these stories are mostly fiction, a what might have been, they draw from the facts that we know. Well done and I wonder what saint Peek will flesh out for us next.

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2017 Catholic Reading Plan!

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