Thursday, December 4, 2014

Book: The Heretic

Look to your right! There’s a book –>

Henry Vyner-Brooks’ The Heretic is a heavy duty historical novel. Based in England, 1536, The Heretic covers the lives (and deaths) of some who would reform the Church of England, some who would restore the Roman Church in England, and some who would leave the Church altogether.

And if you think that’s a complicated summary, you should read the book and realize just how oversimplified I made it. This makes me of two minds about Vyner-Brooks’ work. First is the concern that it’s too complicated and too woven into the historical events to be widely read.

And that is a legitimate concern. If you are not familiar, generally, with the history of England, then you will be lost from the beginning of this book. It is a different style of historical novel than I typically see. Usually, historical fiction uses the story to help inform the past, helping the reader to know what happened. Vyner-Brooks has taken a different turning in this, and you need to know the macro-level events. From his writing, you will gather the day-to-day, personal level events that went on, things that don’t make it into history books. It is a different manner of doing historical fiction.

Which brings me to my second mind on this book: I love it. It is rich with history and smells of unwashed monks, unrefrigerated foods, and grouchy monarchs. There is no pandering to the reader nor patronizing parentheticals to remind you who “Martin Luther” was. You need to know. It’s a grown-up level read, for those who want to dig into the flavor of the times.

Does it have a happy ending? Does anything in that time?

It took work to get through The Heretic, but it was a book worth reading.

 

Note: yes, I got this one for free from Kregel. They offer books, I take books.

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