Monday 17 December 2012

The Thunder - A Novel on John Knox

Douglas Bond's fiction is for the 21st Century what G A Henty's was for the Victorian era.  Only, Bond is directly Reformed in his underlying theology, whereas Henty went no further than good, clean morality.  But both are similar in attention to detail when it comes to history, so much so that the storyline and fictional characters are not given the depth of treatment that a 'mere' novelist would do.  This however turns into a virtue rather than a vice, in that it allows the history to percolate through very easily and clearly.  Bond is particularly good in this book on John Knox and the Scots Reformation at weaving verbatim material from sermons and letters etc into the story.  Knox shows up here (from the beatific depiction on the front cover onwards!) as a bold and fearless man.  But also, contrary to legend, we learn that he was physically unimposing and pastorally tender to his beloved countrymen.  Whether loved or hated, he cannot be ignored in understanding not only the Reformation in Scotland, but in England also because of his contact with Edward VI and Hugh Latimer. The influence of John Calvin on him when in exile at Geneva was marked, but he had come to deeply 'calvinistic' doctrines before that, under God's teaching, and proclaimed them.
This is profitable holiday reading by my reckoning, and Bond builds an interesting gospel analogy into the plot which is a bonus.
The Thunder - A novel on John Knox, by Douglas Bond.
Published by P & R, p/b £9.99
Read a sample chapter

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