Thursday, February 24, 2011
This is all about the Time Machine Reading Challenge. I've just finished another book which means I'm already ahead of last year's dismal score by 100%.
The Robe, by Lloyd C Douglas presented a little mystery. My book list for 1953 includes this title but the publication date in the book is much earlier. Why did I look? I always look inside books for publicaton date. Doesn't everyone? I was halfway through before the mystery really gnawed hard enough to make me do some research. This book was made into a film in 1953. I'm sure that's the mix-up. Will it still qualify as a candle?
I began this novel with kind of low expectations. It is essentially the story of the beginnings of Christianity and I'm pretty familiar with the plot. But Douglas is an excellent story-teller and I was swept along by the characters; cheering on the good guys while hissing at the villains. Some of the descriptions of life in Rome and Palestine were so English that I had to giggle. I mean, really, a "grass-plot" in front of a villager's cottage with "tulips lining the path to the door"? There was a lot of that.
But, in the end, I have to admit that the author's faith and passion are quietly attractive. He presents his message of staunch faith in such utopian terms that anyone would be drawn to it. I also found the political setting of this novel - the early days of the First Century - to be eerily parallel to our own. Overblown spending at high government levels, tyrannical rulers facing their demise and the breath of freedom and democracy circulating among those with nothing to lose. I was disappointed in the ending which wasn't how I would have chosen to write it. But he sold 2 million copies and had a film made..what do I know?