Thursday 5 December 2019

From Afar - Roger Thomas

From Afar
Roger Thomas
Tumblar House

ISBN 9781944339067

This is the fourth book by Roger Thomas I have read in as many weeks. From the first book I finished I have had a great deal of respect for the author and his skill at the craft of writing, but that has been eclipsed by this novel. Reading this the week before Advent begins has stirred my heart and my spirit. It is an incredible piece of historical fiction. And I am truly amazed at the skill with which this story was written. As much as I love some of the other books by Thomas that I have read, this is by far my favorite and one I will likely read for the next few years either in preparation for advent or during advent. It was very hard to put this book down. And of the thousands of books I have read, I can not think of a better historical fiction novel. There are trilogies; The Sword and the Serpent by Taylor R. Marshall and The Life and Death of Early Christians by Father Michael E Giesler that are both incredible. But as a stand-alone story this is one of the best if not the best I have read!

This book takes us back to the beginning of the Magi’s part in the nativity tale. It tells about their coming together. How they might have known each other. And how the signs and portents they discovered lead them on a journey of more than a years time. Roger draws from scripture and then fills in the pieces with impeccable historical research. The story reads in part like an action adventure. And in part like man’s quest for ultimate meaning and purpose. And the two are wonderfully woven together. 

Roger is an excellent storyteller. And as much as the whole story impacted me immensely. The encounters with Joseph and Mary were tremendously moving. As a father I could not help but be challenged by the example given by Joseph in this novel. The characters are excellent in this novel, from the three wisemen, to the servant boy at their side. The representation of the ancient world and the cults and religious practices is stunning. 

Reading this book was like being thrown back in time. The details in the descriptions transport the reader into the places and events. In many ways it has brought the advent of the Christ real to me on a new and completely different level. This it is a story I will read again and again. I plan to read it with my children this advent. 

I read a lot of books, in fact since I started keeping track, I average will over 100 books a year. The last few years have been over 300 books a year. This book one of my all-time favorites. I strongly encourage you to give this book a read, it is an excellent offering.

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2019 Catholic Reading Plan!

Books by Roger Thomas:
The Accidental Marriage
From Afar
The Last Ugly Person: And Other Stories

The Ghosts of Midgard Manor And Other Stories
The Crown Jewels of Undlar

Watchful Sky Series:
Under the Watchful Sky
Rising Darkness
The Wounded Land
The Tattered Web

Author profile and interview with Roger Thomas.

No comments: