Thursday, 21 January 2021

Run Rabbit Run - Alex Smith - DCI Kett Book 5.0

Run Rabbit Run
DCI Kett Crime Thrillers Book 5.0
Zertex Crime
ISBN 9781913877040
It took me a while to start this book, almost a month, but once I did I could not put it down. I picked the book up a few days after it released but already had several books on the go. And some I had committed to review dates. So this one dropped out of view on my Kindle. It cam to mind and I read it in 3 sittings in under 18 hours over New years Eve. If you have been fallowing the saga of DCI Kett this book really is a must read. If you happen to be a fan of rough and tough action you will almost certainly enjoy this novel. This is the sixth of the DCI Kett stories that I have read, the fifth novel, and Kett made a brief appearance in The Harder They Fall, the first of the Softley Series of books. The previos volume, Whip Crack, makes reference to Six Days, Six Hours, Six Minutes, which is by far the darkest and grittiest of Smith’s novels. Now all of his mysteries link together in some fashion. This book is different than the others in the series, but still has that same intense action mystery feel. And I have a feeling based on the content, even though not directly a closer link to Six. 

I have stated before that each of the Kett novels have been great crime mystery novels, and interesting reads. But they are dark books with terrible crimes. And in this one Kett is being blamed for forcing several people to commit murders. And the longer it goes on the more guilty he looks. Officially Kett has just been relieved of duty. But the next day his old boss calls him and and the race is on from there. The inquiry into his actions that led to his wife’s rescue, did not go his way, but he feels a sort of freedom from it. That is until the first body turns up, and then another, and another … when they find the hitlist many he convicted, and worked with are on a hit list, but conspicuously absent are his name and his wife’s. 

The rabbit in the title has many meanings in the story. As does Kett’s own name. and both these facts play key roles in the story. The story is practically a race from the first body to a hilarious scene in the hospital at the end. I can honestly state I laughed out loud, which after all the tension, drama, and adversity in the series was a surprise. 

I do admit that I love the Kett novels. His character. His strength. His drive. He is a man who puts it all on the line for others. And does it because of his love for his wife and children. But in this story, he needs to risk everything, his wife, his family, his reputation. All to get to the bottom of this mystery. And it is going to cost him far more than he ever bargained for. I must admit that author Jon Mayhew was much kinder in his character named Alex Smith, that Smith was to Mayhew.

I will be blunt and state it again this book and this series is not for all readers. It is very dark, gritty, and very intense. They are great thrillers. Over ten years ago, I read and loved the Lockdown series published primarily for a young adult audience by Alexander Gordon Smith. When I found out he had this new crime mystery series in the works I had visions of his skill turned to series like Wired in the Blood, or the Commander. There is always something extra appealing about a British crime drama or procedural, I was hooked from the concept. I have read each book as it became available and preordered the next as soon as it was available. I have a few friends who have given these books a try and they were just as hooked, part way through book one my boss ordered the whole series. Another great read in the sage of Kett.

Mystery Books as Alex Smith:

Softley Softley Series:
2.0 Hard Luck House

DCI Kett Series:
2.0 Bad Dog
3.0 Three Little Pigs
5.0 Run Rabbit Run

Books By Alexander Gordon Smith:
Escape from Furnace:

Death Sentence
Execution Epilogue - Short Story
The Night Children - Short Story

Fury Series:
The Fury
The Storm

The Inventors:
The Inventors
The Inventors And The City of Stolen Souls

1001 Questions and Answers
Inspired Creative Writing: 52 Brilliant Ideas from the Master Wordsmiths
The Solar System
Family Quiz
Writing Bestselling Children's Books: 52 Brilliant Ideas for Inspiring Young Readers

Wednesday, 20 January 2021

Saint Nicholas The Wonderworker - Andrew Votipka - Mr. Baker’s Book Series Book 2

Saint Nicholas: 
The Wonderworker
Mr. Baker’s Book Series Book 2
Andrew Votipka
ISBN 9798574685655

This was a wonderful follow up book in the Mr. Baker’s Book Series, but nor the book I was expecting. I was expecting a volume on Aloysius Gonzaga. And hope we still get that one soon. But even with it being on an unexpected saint, this was a wonderful volume. I could hardly put it down. I loved the first book in this series on Abba Moses, in part because he is a much less known saint. But this one is an excellent read. For readers of all ages. I stated before that in some ways this story reminded me of the Chime Travelers series by Lisa M. Hendey but geared for an older audience. And in some other ways it reminded me of the Douglings Adventures by Carissa Douglas. Fans of both of those series will love this book. Though this is geared more for an older reader, late middle grade, tweens or teens. 

The description of this volume is:

“Book two in the Mr. Baker's Book series is out! Class is back in session. Well, not really. In fact, Mr. Baker's class is off for a Christmas break, but that won't stop everyone's favorite time travelling eleven-year-old from breaking into the church, finding Mr. Baker's book, and going off on an adventure all by himself! What could go wrong? A trip to an ancient Mediterranean maritime town with a beautiful beach doesn't sound so bad, if you're fine with tyrannical Roman emperors, graveyards, and sinking boats. Join Theo as he meets a few characters from the Bible, avoids manual labor, assists in shaping world history, and befriends one of the most famous of all the saints. A man so well loved, his name alone brings smiles to the faces of children and adults the world over. Saint Nicholas the Wonderworker.”

In this one instead of the trio travelling through time, it is just Theo, and he travels to many times and places. But All in relation to Nicholas of Myra. 

The chapters in the story are:

1. A Ship at Sea
2. Finding the Book
3. Patara
4. An Unexpected Meeting
5. The Young Boy
6. A Surprising Guest
7. Pursuit
8. Mystery Solved
9. A Gathering
10. The Young Bishop
11. A Miracle on the Waters
12. Land
13. Innocents Abroad
14. Eustathios
15. In the Nick of Time
16. The Closet
17. A Christmas to Remember
A Historical Note
Saint Nicholas Traditions

The author in the preface to book one stated that:

“I’ve imagined this book as a family read aloud. The reader may feel free to add, edit, delete, and supplement. You can make the Egyptians sound like British villains or Irish leprechauns (those are my personal go-tos). You can talk about the differences between a cenobitic and an eremitic monk if you happen to know the difference. You can buy a prayer rope and teach your kids how to use it. Be creative!”

And yet this volume has no preface to set it up. Maybe that is because he expects all readers to have familiarity with Saint Nicholas, and depending on where they live and their heritage a variety of traditions around him and his feast day or Christmas directly. In the Historical Note at the end of the volume Andrew states:

“There once was a bishop of Myra named Nicholas. He lived between the end of the third and beginning of the fourth centuries, and he attended the Council of Nicaea. That is the entire historically reliable biography of jolly old Saint Nick. Ho, ho, ho. 

To make the historical record even more complicated, in the sixth century there was another man who would also become a Saint Nicholas. Saint Nicholas of Sion. He took the name Nicholas in honor of the bishop of Myra (which tells us something about our Saint Nicholas’s popularity in the early church), and this Nicholas of Sion even made a trip to visit the tomb of his namesake. For many centuries, their legends were intertwined, and it wasn’t until fairly recently that serious scholarship was able to untangle the threads.”

Now having a Religious Studies Degree with a focus on Roman Catholic Thoughts I am well versed with the two Nicholas’s even if you omit the slap to the face. And yet it was fascinating to read this volume. 

This book really does bring to life the life and times of Saint Nicholas and by hopping around it time, we encounter the man at many different points in his life. 

This is a great story to read or to be read aloud. It helps bring part of the long history of Christianity to life and bring awareness to a younger generation. Pick it up and give it a try and join the three youngster as he get transported back and experience this early saint in a fascinating and fun way first hand.

This book was a wonderful read in what is shaping up to be an excellent series. I greatly enjoyed it, and am rereading in with my son while he is in the hospital and plan to read it again with my youngest daughter once back home. I will pick up any future offering in this series. This book brought to life this Saint Nicholas in a wonderful new way. I highly recommend this volume.

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews 2021 Catholic Reading Plan!

Books by Andrew Votipka:
Mr. Baker’s Book Series
Aloysius Gonzaga

Tuesday, 19 January 2021

Mr. Universe - Arthur Slade

Mr. Universe
Arthur Slade
Orca Books
ISBN  9781459826885
eISBN 9781459826908

I have been a big fan of Arthur Slade’s works for years. This is one of two that are due out in January 2021. It is very different then anything else of his. And I have read all his published novels. Some of his books I have read many times over. And I have got to say I absolutely loved this one! I have now read it 3 times. Well actually, I read it once, I used text to speech to listen to it once, and my son read it to me for his reading challenge time. 

My son is a very reluctant reader. He reads below grade level, and he struggles. However, he loves books. He loves being read to in person or using adaptive technology and listening to books while following the text. He could not put this book down. His reading goal is 20 minutes at least 5 days a week. The first day he read this to be he read for just over an hour, and only stopped because of family movie night. And as soon as the movie was over he wanted to read more. He has already asked for more books from Slade to read and next up is, Death by Airship. I too struggled with reading when younger and have a dual form of dyslexia, and I also love Slade’s books. I have read all of them at least once. And I loved this one. I was raving about this book after my second read through, and my son asked if we could skip to it, and am I ever glad I let him put the book he was reading on hold for this volume. The description of this book is:  

“Seventeen-year-old Michael goes to visit his eccentric mad-scientist uncle who, busy working on yet another time-travel experiment in his cluttered lab, barely notices him. He keeps muttering things like “quantum multiverse transporter” and Michael has to entertain himself. Which is how Michael accidentally ends up in an alternate universe. Everything looks remarkably similar to his own world but with a few key differences, like lizard men dressed in gray suits and three-wheeled vehicles. And then there's Emily, a sassy, confident girl who needs Michael's help before he can find his way back to his own dimension.”

The characters are awesome. You will instantly love Michael and Emily. And his Aunt\Uncle Henry (depending on which version of earth you are on. And the pace is nonstop breakneck action. The whole story takes place during a single day. A little quantum theory, a strange new earth. Finding some differences and that somethings are the same. And of course, the best turkey sandwich ever. When a scientist only trusts two Doctors, Pepper and Who, you know you are in for some fun. 

I got to be honest and state I kind of hope that this books is like C.S. Lewis’s The Magician’s Nephew, in that it is the beginning of a whole series of adventures involving Henry(s), Michael and Emily. This story was so much fun. Even after reading it three times I keep thinking about it and smiling. And am even debating going back for a fourth serving. 

Another amazing read from the masterful pen of Arthur Slade. And what I truly hope is the beginning of a new series. 

Note: I have read this book 4 times, I read it, I used adaptive technology to listen to it. And my son read it to me twice back to back. An amazing story!

Books by Arthur Slade:
The Dragonfly's Journey (1996)

John Diefenbaker: an Appointment with Destiny (2000)
Dust (2001)
Tribes (2002)
Monsterology (2005)
Villainology (2005)
Megiddo's Shadow (2006)
Jolted (2008)
Shades: 17 Startling Stories (2011)

Flickers (2016)
Crimson (2018)
Death by Airship (2019)
Mr. Universe (2021)

Hunchback Assignments Series:
aka Modo Mission Clockwork Series:
The Hunchback Assignments (2009)
The Dark Deeps (2010)
Empire of Ruins (2011)
Island of Doom (2012)

Modo Embers End - Graphic Novel (2014)

The Northern Frights Series
Draugr (1997)
The Haunting of Drang Island (1998)
The Loki Wolf (2000)

Northern Frights Reprint Editions:
Draugr (2020)
Drang (2020)
Loki Wolf (2020)

The Canadian Chills Series
Return of the Grudstone Ghosts (2002)
Ghost Hotel (2004)
Invasion of the IQ Snatchers (2007)

Librarian. Assassin. Vampire Series:
Amber Fang: The Hunted
Amber Fang: Betrayed
Amber Fang: Revenge
Amber Fang Box Set Books 1-3

Dragon Assassin Series:
Twin Fury
Shadow Hunter
Dark Wings
Elder Magic
Royal Blood
Hidden Powers
Burning Empire
Old Enemies

Monday, 18 January 2021

Patrick Missionary to the Irish - Thomas O’Loughlin - CTS Great Saints

Patrick Missionary to the Irish
CTS Great Saints
Thomas O’Loughlin
Catholic Truth Society
ISBN 9781860821417
CTS Booklet B666

This book was another that was harder to track down, it was well worth doing so as I try and work through all the volumes in the CTS Great Saints Series. But it is not my favorite. I have become a huge fan of the Catholic Truth Society’s books and booklets. I have read many volumes from the CTS Great Saints Series, CTS Biographies, and also Saints of the Isles Series. And have loved almost all of them. I have read over 175 books from the Catholic Truth Society over the last few years. I have loved most, and benefited from all of them. But this one was different. 

The description on the back of the book is:

“Who was St Patrick? A legendary miracle worker who converted a whole island unaided, or a beleaguered missionary venturing fearfully to the edges of the known world? In this biography of the 5th century saint, Thomas O’Loughlin explores the man behind the myth through Patrick’s own writings and discovers an inspiring theologian and a man who preached peace to his captors, and forgiveness to those who had attacked him.”

And the sections in the volume are:

The Myth and the Man
Servant of the Gospel
Reviewing his Life
The Mighty Saint

The chapters are:
The Myth and the Man
     ‘St Patrick, shamrock, and all that
     What do we know about the man?
     Christianity and Ireland
     Historical Dates
     A Captive in Ireland
     A Roman cleric
     Patrick the Visionary

Servant of the Gospel
      The Convery   
     A Punitive God
     The Missionary
     To the ends of the Earth
     The Teacher
     Patrick’s Creed
     A member of the Universal Church
     The Pilgrim
Reviewing his Life
     A Stranger
     The Old Man
     In the Uttermost parts
     The Edge of Time

The Mighty Saint
     17 March
     Creating ‘the apostle of Ireland’
     Tirechan’s Creed
     Further Reading
This book begins with a quote from Patrick’s confession, even before the Table of Contents:

“So it would be neither right nor proper
to do anything but to tell you all of
the many great blessings and the grace
which the Lord choose to give me
in this land of my captivity.”
- Confessio 3

I have very mixed feelings about this volume. The whole-time I was reading it, it felt more like an academic essay, or even report than a biography of a saint. And there is certainly a place for such volumes, and even such volumes on saints, and Saint Patrick. But having read 12 other volumes in this series, that was absolutely not what I was expecting. In fact I dosed off a couple of times while reading the book, and it was not due to just tiredness. At the end of the volume in the section ‘Further Reading’ O’Loughlin’s first recommendations are his own translation of Patrick’s works, and one of his own much longer works dedicated to the saint.

As such this is the first volume in this series, even the first in about 50 biographies across various series from the Catholic Truth Society that feels more like an academic volume, an essay and less like a ‘life of’. As such it was rather disappointing. I have read many works about the saint. From both angles. And to be honest this is my least favorite of the lot. There were parts of this volume that were enjoyable and engaging. And others that feel like they are lifted from other works by the author and are incomplete or lacking.

If you are looking for a history, and a very nuanced interpretation than this is the book for you. If not, I would recommend you keep looking. 

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2021 Catholic Reading Plan! For other reviews of books from the Catholic Truth Society click here.

Books in the CTS Great Saints Series:

Antonio Rosmini - J.B.Midgley
Bernard of Clairvaux - J.B.Midgley
Benedict Patron of Europe - J.B. Midgley
Charles Borromeo - J.B.Midgley
Dominic - J.B.Midgley
Elizabeth of the Trinity The Great Carmelite Saint - Jennifer Moorcroft
Francis de Sales - J.B.Midgley
Gemma Galgani Gem of Christ John Paul Kirkham
George: Patron of England - J.B.Midgley
John Baptist de La Salle - J.B.Midgley
John of the Cross - Jennifer Moorcroft
John Vianney - J.B.Midgley
Louis Marie de Montfort His Life, Message and Teaching - Paul Allerton SMM
Martin de Porres - Glynn MacNiven-Johnston
Patrick - Thomas O’Loughlin
Rita of Cascia - Glynn MacNiven-Johnston
Robert Bellarmine - J.B.Midgley
Saint Anthony of Padua - Jude Winkler
Saint Dominic and the Order of Preachers - Richard Finn
Saint Francis of Assisi - Jennifer Moorcroft
Saint Ignatius of Loyola – J.A. Philips
Saint John the Baptist - J.B.Midgley
Saint Padre Pio A Holy Priest - Jim Gallagher
Saint Thérèse of Lisieux - Vernon Johnson
Thomas Aquinas - Vivian Boland
Vincent de Paul - J.B.Midgley

Friday, 15 January 2021

Companion to the Feasts of Our Lord - J.B. Midgley - CTS Companions Series

Companion to the Feasts of Our Lord
CTS Companions Series
J.B. Midgley
Catholic Truth Society
ISBN 781860821691
CTS Booklet Do685

I have come to love and depend on the books from the Catholic Truth Society. Over the last few years, I have read over 175 books, and booklets from the CTS. I have many series I love, and many authors who have published with CTS. And the works of J.B. Midgley really captured my attention. I read my first booklet by him in mid 2019 and have since read books by him 22 times. Barry Midgley published most of his works under the name J.B. Midgley. And all but two volumes he wrote were for the Catholic Truth Society. I have been able to track down all but one, and only have a few to go to have read them all the first time. Most of his books for the CTS are either in this series or the CTS Great Saints Series. Mr. Midgley passed away before I began reading his works. I have found them to be treasures. His writing is clean and crisp. And always spiritually edifying. But back to this volume. The description of this volume is:

A rich store of teaching. History, and prayer.

This Companion is designed to accompany you through the many feasts connected with Our lord Jesus Christ as they occur during the year. The reader has access here to spiritual writings, historical background, scriptural passages and reflection which combine to enrich the meaning and enjoyment of each feast. Why does the Church celebrate these feasts, and what meaning and fruits can the disciple derive from them? All this is answered here in this finely compiled Companion by Mr J.B. Midgley for the CTS.”

The volume lives up to that and even exceeded my high expectations. The chapters in this book are:

The Annunciation of the Lord
The Nativity of the Lord
The Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph
The Circumcision of the Lord
The Most Holy Name of Jesus
The Epiphany of the Lord
The Presentation of the Lord
The Baptism of the Lord
The Transfiguration of the Lord
The Body and Blood of Christ
The Resurrection
The Ascension
The Sacred Heart of Jesus
Divine Mercy
The Triumph of the Cross
Christ the King
Chronological Lists of Feasts

For each chapter there are the following sections:

Origins and significance
From the liturgy

A few of the chapters have additional sections as well. For Example 

The Nativity of the Lord
Origins and Significance
Preparations for the Incarnation
The Birth of Our Lord
The Shepherds
From the Liturgy

For a few of the feats we learn about why some have had their dates moved, and why. For The Body and Blood of Christ we learn that it was once two separate celebrations that were combined. There is a lot of great information and the reflections are for the soul and spirit. This is a book that fill nurture Mind, Body, and Spirit. 

This volume can be read from beginning to end. It can be read following the year and the feats in the order they appear in the calendar. The first time I read it was between The Nativity and The Most Holy Name of Jesus. But I plan on rereading over the next year and ending up back at Epiphany. This book was written as a companion but can be used as a devotional for those 16 feasts. 

Another fantastic volume from the pen of J.B. Midgley. And an excellent resource from the Catholic Truth Society.

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2021 Catholic Reading Plan! For other reviews of books from the Catholic Truth Society click here.

For other books in the CTS Companions Series click here.

Books by J.B. Midgley:

Advent & Christmastide with the Saints
Antonio Rosmini
Benedict - Patron of Europe
Bernard of Clairvaux – CTS Great Saints
Charles Borromeo - CTS Great Saints
Companion to St. Joseph
Companion to the Feasts of Mary
Companion to Saint Peter
Companion to Saint Paul
Companion to the Angels
Companion to the Feasts of Our Lord
Companion to the Passion of Our Lord
Dominic - CTS Great Saints
George: Patron of England - CTS Great Saints
Dewi Sant: St David Patron of Wales
Francis de Sales – CTS Great Saints
John Baptist de La Salle – CTS Great Saints
John Vianney – CTS Great Saints
Lent with the Saints
Nurturing the Young
Robert Bellarmine
Saint John the Baptist 
Stations of the Cross and Resurrection with the Saints
The Eucharist with the Saints
The Four Evangelists
Thomas Becket – CTS Saints of the Isles
Vincent de Paul – CTS Great Saints
Witchcraft, Sorcery and Magic

Contributed to:
First Fridays and First Saturdays The Devotions Explained 

Other books in the CTS Companions Series:
Companion to St. Joseph – J.B. Midgley
Companion to the Feasts of Mary – J.B. Midgley
Companion to Saint Peter – J.B. Midgley
Companion to Saint Paul – J.B. Midgley
Companion to the Angels – J.B. Midgley
Companion to the Feasts of Our Lord - J.B. Midgley
Companion to the Passion of Our Lord – J.B. Midgley
Companion to the Order of the Mass - Mgr Bruce Harbert
Companion to Reading the Old Testament – Adrian Graffy
Companion to Reading the New Testament – Adrian Graffy
Companion to Praying with the Bible – Z. Mattam
New Companion to Advent & Christmastide - CTS
New Companion to Prayer - Celia Wolf-Devine
New Companion to Lent - CTS

Thursday, 14 January 2021

The Bones of the Dead - J.E. Mayhew - DCI Will Blake Book 3.0

The Bones of the Dead 
DCI Will Blake Book 3.0
Obolus Books
Zertex Crime
ISBN 9781999840761

This is the fourth DCI William Blake story I have read and the fifth book by J.E. Mayhew. I have been jumping around a bit. I started with book 2 in this series, then the prequel, and then back to book 1, and now this story. So other than my first read this was the first one that did not have any spoilers from reading them out of order. Each of the stories are strong enough to be read on its own. This series was recommended to me by Alex Smith, author of the DCI Kett books. I had read all the Kett books and was awaiting the next Softley Softley book when Smith mentioned book two in this series, Fearful Symmetry, and gave it a plug. After reading that volume I discovered that the author publishes under two names, much like Smith. One for Adult crime novels, J.E. Mayhew and another for Young Adult and younger readers, Jon Mayhew. And I have now read books under both names. I was glad I gave that first one a try and after reading 4 of the 5 stories know I will read this series as long as new books are published in it. And have plans to go back and read more of his Young Adult offerings as well. These books are not as gritty and do not pack as much punch as the Kett novels, but they are great British crime procedural stories. When I reviewed a Kett story I stated I could see Jamie Bamber as DCI Kett, and while reading this I could not help but picture Karl Urban as DCI Will Blake. And can picture it much like the TV series Wired in the Blood

Let’s now return our focus to this specific book.

This is the third novel and fourth story featuring DCI Will Blake. Blake has a few things against him, first he is named after a famous poet, an second when he was younger he was the uniformed officer on a Tv Series called Searchlight. And most people upon meeting him tend to refer to one or the other. Both of which get under his skin. And these days everything seems to be getting under his skin. His girlfriend, his brother who has come to visit, a criminal he washed his hands of and who wants to have a link with him. And on top of that the new case does not make a lot of sense. The description of this volume is:

“How do you solve a murder when there is no body?

When DCI Will Blake is called to investigate a blood-drenched gravestone, the evidence leads to Trevor Long, local paranormal investigator, self-styled medium and conspiracy theorist. Long vanished while he was investigating the mysterious, axe-wielding Sons of Sol, worshippers of the Viking sun goddess. But Long’s life, like his death, is far from straight forward and Blake’s team are drawn into a deadly game. Meanwhile, closer to home, an old enemy is still conspiring against Blake. His life is in danger. And to top it all, his cat has gone missing.

Can Blake unravel the fate of Trevor Long, defend himself and protect those he holds dear before the forces of evil close in?”

There seems to not be a single person who has anything good to say about Long, his mother, his ex-girlfriend. Only his flatmate seems to even care that he is missing. But with the amount of blood found at the scene. The ax standing in the grave, and his coat and boot left behind. It is hard not to assume the worst.

But woven tightly round that story, is the fact that Blake’s mother has been missing for 2 years now. His cat he inherited from her is now missing, as are other cats on the street. And the fiend from the previous story, keeps yanking on Blake’s and the departments chains. Throw in a group of pagan ax throwers, a notorious money launderer and criminal, and some very bad decisions on the part of his team, and we are set for a story like no other.

A great read in a thrilling series. Well written. Keeps you attention from the get go. A book that was hard to put down. And leaves you wondering where things will go in Cruelty Has A Human Heart, the next volume.

Books as J.E. Mayhew:
DCI William Blake Series:
4.0 Cruelty Has A Human Heart
5.0 All the Lies

Books as Jon Mayhew:
Death Road
The Spybrarian
Have a Go

Monster Odyssey Series:
1.0 The Eye of Neptune
2.0 The Wrath of the Lizard Lord
3.0 The Curse of the Ice Serpent
4.0 The Venom of the Scorpion

Mortlock Series:
1.0 Mortlock
2.0 The Demon Collector
3.0 The Bonehill Curse

Collins Big Cat Series:
The Merchant of Venice: Band 16/Sapphire
Hamlet: Band 18/Pearl
Romeo and Juliet: Band 18/Pearl
Macbeth: Band 18/Pearl

Contributed to:
Beyond the Book: A Collection of Short Stories
Storycraft: How To Teach Creative Writing

Wednesday, 13 January 2021

Norbert The Apostle of Peace - Abbot Martin Geudens - CTS Biographies

Norbert The Apostle of Peace
CTS Biographies
Abbot Martin Geudens 
Catholic Truth Society
ISBN 9781784696306
CTS Booklet B775

A few years ago, I stumbled across the books and booklets from the Catholic Truth Society quite by accident. I was researching an author I had run across, and was trying to track down all of her works. Soon I had a long lost of books from the CTS on my Wishlist, and it seems that for everyone I read I end up with 1 or 2 more on my wish list. At the writing of this review I have read over 175 titles from the CTS over the last 3 years and currently have over 200 either in my ‘to be read’ pile or on my wish list still. I have read many in the CTS Biographies and also Saints of the Isles Series, and the Great Saints Series. I believe this is the only book currently published written by Abbot Martin Geudens, and it is an inspiring volume. The description of this booklet is:

“On the 900th Anniversary of the founding of the Norbertine Order, CTS presents this new biography of St Norbert, apostle of peace and of the Blessed Sacrament, a strong defender of the Church, and the founder of an Order with a long and recently revived connection with this country.”

The vast majority of the book is a biography of Saint Norbert. And the final section is on the Norbertines and their work in the British Iles. The chapters in the book are:

His Early life and Conversion
Norbert’s Ordination and Zeal
Norbert at the Council of Fritzlar, Visiting the Pope and his Missionary Journey
Norbert, the Apostle of Peace
Norbert and Prémontré
Norbert and the Early Months of the order of Prémontré
Norbert Against the Devil, Founding of the Third order and His Success at Antwerp
The Spread of the Order of Prémontré
Norbert’s apostolic Journeys and Return to Prémontré
Norbert Chosen to Become Archbishop of Magdeburg
Norbert Defends the Rights of the Church and a Successor is Chosen for Prémontré
Norbert Establishes His brethren in Magdeburg; Plots against Norbert
A Riot in Magdeburg and More Plots against Norbert
Norbert Returns to Magdeburg
Norbert Accompanies the Emperor to Rome to Restore the Rightful Pope
The Death and Burial of Norbert
Miracles at Norbert’s Shrine and the Removal of His Relics to Prague
Norbertines in England

This biography is a fascinating read. I was intrigued by the title. And recall coming across the name from time to time. But I could not have told you anything about this amazing saint in detail. This book has remedied that. But has also left me with a thirst to know more about this saint and to see if and of his works are available, and available in English. This volume begins with these words:

“The twelfth century witnessed troubles which divided Europe, and even schisms and divisions which divided the Church. During this Chaos, Divine Providence raised up St Norbert as an apostle of peace, an apostle of the Blessed Sacrament, a strong defender of the Church, and as the founder of a new Order.”

When I first read those words I could not help but think of the church in our own times. We in the 21st Century could use another Norbert. Or at least look back and learn from the wisdom of his life an example. 

Norbert lived for God. He had no issues confronting emperors and even a pope. He was a faithful son of the church. And desired to serve. To be a light bearer. And because of his life he faced much opposition both secular and spiritual. He had foes in the world, within the church, and even spiritual battles against the Devil himself. 

This little volume of 71 pages gives us an excellent look into the life of this saint. His troubles, trials, tribulations, and his triumphs. The booklet is inspiring and also challenging. It is a book that will spark deeper prayer. And a desire to grow spiritually. It is a most excellent read. I just wish there was an eBook edition of that it was easier to get in North America. I would keep a few copies on hand to give out to friends and family.

An excellent read, and a great first book to start off 2021. Another great read from the Catholic Truth Society, and excellent volume in the CTS Biographies Series.

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2021 Catholic Reading Plan! For other reviews of books from the Catholic Truth Society click here.