Friday, November 28, 2014

The Heretic- a historical fiction novel by Henry Vyner-Brooks

The Heretic by Henry Vyner-Brooks

This novel by Henry Vyner Brooks is an amazing read! Become engrossed in the story of the lives of the characters in this historical novel as you follow their joys and sorrows chapter after chapter. 
   The Heretic is set in the time of the Reformation: 1536. Henry VIII is king of England and changes are sweeping over the land. This book begins through the eyes of a man called Pacificus, a monk with a mysterious past which he is trying to forget through peaceful and faithful service to God. To Pacificus' dismay, new laws are being enacted, causing monasteries to be deserted and literally endangering his peaceful existence. Strangely enough, Pacificus becomes intensely entangled in the plight of an Anabaptist family who are condemned to death! Follow as the story unfolds, and the characters become involved in a whirlwind of plot, intrigue and adventure! Most importantly, follow the spiritual life of Pacificus as he realizes he cannot rely on His weak Roman Catholic traditions to save his soul.

   When I began this book I was, to be honest, disappointed to see that it is written in first-person tense. I have never done well with that style of writing. However, I could tell that the storyline in this chunky paperback was a real gem, so I enthusiastically read on. From my experience, this is a book the reader must be devoted to, if they want to gain a solid understanding of all the characters and plots in this exciting novel. I had trouble understanding the plots, but upon re-reading the book (yes! a second time!), am understanding everything better. The first two parts of the book are slow, and then suddenly the book picks up pace and the reader can't stop devouring the complex tale! It's an amazing read, especially past page 300. Humorously, it took me almost a month to read the first half of the book, but then I read pages 300-600 in one afternoon! I was left astounded at the epic-ness of this book. 
   As for the faith aspect, that was beautifully woven throughout the book. There were a couple moments where I was actually brought to tears, specifically at the moments of conversion. This author deals with salvation in an accurate and honourable fashion. Thank you! It was beautiful and God-glorifying. 
   Concerning historical facts, this book is based on historical accounts. The main characters are fictional, but so authentic as to please the most critical historian. I was pleased that the author kept to rules of the times; he didn't allow any of the romances in the story to go as far as kissing or anything because in the 1500s Christians had a good amount of dignity. I am not a historical critic, but I have studied quite a bit about this time period and nothing major bothered me. Conservatively, there are portions that do disturb me. The author took the liberty to let some of the characters use language in some portions (the regular words such as ''damn''), and there were some crude details which I didn't appreciate. Also, if you are conservative, one of the characters was a prostitute and therefore I would think twice before handing this book to a younger reader. Also, some portions are violent and graphic for children.
   Nevertheless, as an adult I was able to ignore those portions and words I didn't approve of, and engross myself in the swashbuckling, faith-filled tale!
Needless to say, I am eagerly following this author and hoping he continues with his writing career!

I was presented a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review! All thoughts are my own.