Wednesday 6 March 2024

Celtic Paths Saints Alive! Volume 2 - Andrew M. Seddon - News Stories of Old Saints Second Edition

Celtic Paths:
News Stories of Old Saints
Saints Alive! Volume 2
Second Edition
Far Wanderings
ISBN 9798852073341

Celtic Paths Saints Alive! Volume 2 - Andrew M. Seddon News Stories of Old Saints  Second Edition

I am so glad to see this book back in print in a revised or second edition. I have recommended the two volumes in this series many times over the years. I absolutely love the books, and still hope that someday Seddon might expand the series. When I found out they were back in print I picked up the eBook of both the volumes and the new edition that has both in a single edition. I can easily recommend this book and series!

When the first edition came out I was asked by the publisher to write a few words about it. I received it months before it was published and just a straight typeset. I was hooked from the first story and immediately purchased Volume I Saints of Empire and have devoured both book three times in as many months. It is an excellent read and I really hope there will be more books in the series.

In the forward to this reprint edition Seddon states:

“AS IN MY FIRST VOLUME, Saints of Empire, Celtic Paths is a collection of short stories based on incidents in the lives of the saints of Ireland, Britain, Scotland, and Gaul. But these were different times from those of Saints of Empire. The Roman Empire had fallen, leaving behind crumbling ruins and institutions. Into this void came the Angles, Saxons, Jutes, Danes, and Viking raiders, pushing the inhabitants of Britain—though not without a fight—to the western fringes of the British Isles, into Ireland, Wales, Cornwall, and Strathclyde.

Darkness had fallen over much of Europe. But shining in that darkness was the light of the Celtic saints, keeping the flame of Christianity burning, not only in the British Isles but in Europe itself, by re-evangelizing parts of the continent. Some of their names are familiar to us: Patrick, Columba, Aidan, Brigit. Others—and there were many, many others—much less so.

Unfortunately, the popular image of the Celtic saints is one wrapped in a misty sentimentality in which they appear as unfailingly gentle nature and animal lovers possessed of a mystical spirituality that saw God everywhere, in all things and in everyone. Rather like conceptions of St. Francis of Assisi, who has suffered a similar sentimentalizing fate.

But the Celts, even after 400 years of Roman rule, remained a wild, tempestuous, temperamental people, and the Celtic saints were men and women of their race and time.”

As iconography is to images so hierography is to stories of the saints. Seddon has a mystical way with words; he brings you into the stories of the saints and paints such a powerful picture with his words that you find yourself there. This book was an incredible read that I know I will read again often and share with friends and family. So journey back to the 5th and 6th Century for stories of saints both famous and lesser known and maybe the stories will impact your life and your path. The chapters, the twelve stories in this volume are:

1 Sleeping Dragons - Sts Adamnan and Columba - c.690
2 The Sun on the Liffey - St. Brigid - c.500
3 Guardians - St. Senan - c.540
4 Autumn Wolves - St. Ailbe - c.500
5 Colman and the Disappearing Dinner - St. Colman - c.616
6 The Hermit King - St. Tewdrig - c.610
7 Ordeal of the Dog - St. Ruan - c.540
8 Gold of Mercury - St. Leonore - c.540
9 The Mice of Y Gaer - St. Cadoc - c.526
10 A Matter of Thrones - St. Monynna - 6th Century
11 Digits - St. Cainnech - mid 500's
12 Far Voyager - St. Brendan - early 500's
Notes & Sources

Stories built on legends but told to teach lessons. These stories will evoke powerful images and they will surprise, encourage, enlighten and challenge a reader open to the examples of the saints of old. Seddon masterfully tells these 12 stories. C.S. Lewis stated in Letters to Malcolm  "Though we cannot experience our life as an endless present, we are eternal in God's eyes; that is, in our deepest reality." These stories reflect that eternal to us in new and exciting ways.

I have 4 measures for what I consider outstanding books. First do I want to share it with my children as they grow? Second will I read it again? Third do I wish for more books in the series? And finally I cannot stop talking about it. This book meets all three and I wish there was a way to give it more than 5 stars. I would love to see what Seddon would do with saints of other ages, Damien the Leper, Edith Stein, Pope John XXIII and more, if we are lucky maybe he will!

As mentioned I am very thankful these two volumes are back in print. I have been recommending them to readers for over a decade now. There is a third omnibus edition that contains volumes 1 and volume 2 as well as an additional bonus story. I hope that bonus story is signs of things to come. These are excellent books and would be great additions for any home, school, or church library. I can easily recommend this volume and the companion volume on Roman Saints, Saints of Empire

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2024 Catholic Reading Plan!

Books by Andrew M. Seddon:
Walking with the Celtic Saints (with Neil & Gerlinde Kennedy-Jones)
Dr. Andrew's Curious and Quirky Compendium

Historical Fiction:
Imperial Legions

Saints Alive Series:

Saints Alive Second Editions:

Stories Of The Supernatural:
What Darkness Remains
In Death Survive
Science Fiction:
Red Planet Rising
Iron Scepter
The DeathCats of Asa’ican and Other Tales of a Space-Vet
Wreaths of Empire

German Shepherd Wanderings Series:
Bonds of Affection
Ranger's First Call

Contributed to:
Sky Songs
Sky Songs II
Fungi #20
Unintended Consequences
Silent Screams: An Anthology of Socially Conscious Dark Fiction
Eldritch Embraces: Putting the Love Back in Lovecraft
Tails from the Front Lines
Legends of Sleepy Hallow
Wolf Wanderings

Saints of Empire Saints Alive! Volume 1 - Andrew M. Seddon News Stories of Old Saints  Second Edition

Celtic Paths Saints Alive! Volume 2 - Andrew M. Seddon News Stories of Old Saints  Second Edition

Saints Alive! Volume 1 and 2 - Andrew M. Seddon News Stories of Old Saints

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