The Begotten: A Novel of the Gifted
The seed of the story is sown in Constantinople in the Year of Our Lord 731. A monk is burned at the stake with the illuminated manuscript that was his life’s work. The parts of the manuscript that condemned him were his illustrations of certain letters of St. Paul to the Corinthians. His portraiture of a woman, of men, of a peacock was deemed the work of Satan. The manuscript was cast into the flames, but unbeknownst to the Inquisitors, the offending pages had been torn out.
Rome, 1339: The manuscript comes to life. Those persons portrayed in the ancient illuminations begin to recognize each other; they are The Gifted, as foretold by St. Paul in the illuminated letters. Coincidence after coincidence brings them all together, and they discover the gifts that the Holy Spirit bestowed upon them: healing, wisdom, faith, prophecy. They battle a dark agent, the Sorcerer, as they strive to fulfill a prophecy that would threaten the Roman Church’s hold over the souls of men.
This is a lively and well-written story. I found the characters to be very human and likable, their dialogue rich in spiritual wisdom. The dramatic confrontations between the The Healer and the The Sorcerer recall the battles between Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader, Harry Potter and Voldemort. The historical background needs some tweaking. For example, the author has 14th century characters making reference to the Arctic Circle and to Bangkok. Also, a literate knight is a bit of a stretch, but one who reads Virgil? But overall, this is a worthwhile read, and I look forward to the next installment in the series of The Gifted.