Wednesday 19 December 2018

Treachery and Truth - Katy Huth Jones - A Story of Good King Wenceslas

Treachery and Truth
Katy Huth Jones
Pauline Books and Media
ISBN 9780819875358
eISBN 9780819875389


I had this book on my Kindle for a little over a year. It kept popping up in recommendations from friends, fellow reviewers and authors. And every time I moved it towards the top of my reading list, it was quickly bumped down and forgotten until I was reminded about it again. This last time I was reminded about it, I immediately started reading the book. And what an excellent read it is. I had a hard time putting this book down; and ended up devouring it in three sessions over two days. Over the last few years I have read several Christian, Catholic historical fiction novels. Based on a life of a saint, that gives us a glimpse of the life of a saint. And this book does an incredible job of just that.

This is a story filled with history, betrayal, faith, and following God. Most people are aware of the Christmas carol ‘Good King Wenceslas’. This is a story of that man’s life. Saint Wenceslaus, or Vaclav in the Bohemian or Czech as is used in the story. The story is told through the eyes of a servant a young man named Poidevin. Many of the characters are real historical figures, as is the main story. Liberties have been taken to write it into a compelling novel. Set in the ‘dark ages’ around the year 930 A.D. The story takes place between the years 920 and 929 approximately. It is a time of clashes between Pagan religions and the growing Christian Catholic influence. After the death of his father, his mother acting as regent returns to the pagan ways. While Vaclav is faithful to the Catholic church, as was his father and his paternal grandmother. The conflict grows until Vaclav must seize the throne that is rightfully his from his own mother. But his own Christian beliefs prevent him from taking the life of his mother and brother, and it eventually has dire consequences for the king, his family and the whole kingdom.

At one point in the story Poidevin reflects:

“I turned and watched the candle’s flame in the dark room. I’d never noticed before how much light a single candle could produce, how much darkness it dispelled. In that moment, a thought came to me. My master was like a flame burning brightly in the darkness of Bohemia, the darkness of selfishness, greed, ignorance, and an insatiable hunger for power. It was heartening to know how much goodwill one man could spread to others.”

And in many ways that is what this boo does for us 1100 years after the events of the story. Wenceslaus or Vaclav depending on what name you prefer for his was by all accounts a good man, a devote man, and an honest man. He was canonized lest than 70 years after his death.

This story is a great read for young men, it will captivate their interest, and show them a man living his faith well. It was written with a Young Adult audience in mind, and yet I believe it can be enjoyed by readers of all ages. It is wonderfully written. The characters are well written, and the plot, written around the facts we know about this saint’s life. A great read that I can give a solid 5/5 stars.

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2018 Catholic Reading Plan!

Books by Katy Huth Jones:
Leandra's Enchanted Flute
Treachery and Truth
Carpe Diem
Stuck in the Muck
Return to Finian Jahndra
Battling the Beast: Growing in Faith through Cancer
Bug Feet: An Introduction to Rhythm in Poetry

He Who Finds Mercy Series:
Mercy's Prince
Mercy’s Gift
Mercy’s Battle
Mercy’s Joy

Contributed to:
Image and Likeness: Literary Reflections on the Theology of the Body

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