By John-Patrick Bayle
Genre: Historical Fiction
Via: Author Request
Thrust into the political and religious tumult of the 16th century, a young monk is sent on a perilous journey with a mysterious document.
A mysterious document is secreted beneath the floors of a French abbey for three hundred years until a young monk discovers it. If it gets out, the document threatens governments and religious hierarchies alike. Betrayal, double-crosses, kidnapping and murder follow in this thorough and solid work of historical fiction.
“You must accept the truth of your circumstance. Evil is seeking power. Men will die, and we have no control over the situation… God will raise whom He chooses, and His purposes are beyond understanding. We must remain faithful, whatever the outcome.”
After being waylaid enroute to Rome with a document he hasn’t fully read, nineteen year-old Brother Jan returns to his abbey in France. But something’s not right. When Brother Jan overhears other monks saying, “He knows as much as we want him to know,” he knows something’s amiss. But asking too many questions is dangerous. When the young novice learns that some want him silenced permanently, Brother Jan is soon running for his life. Nolo Episcopari.
Clever and Illuminating
Told in the first person by an elderly Brother Jan as he looks back on his youth, The Order is clever and illuminating. It’s structurally sound and the timeline is easy to follow. There’s also plenty of action as the young priest tries to make sense of events as they swirl around him.
However, some loose ends are left dangling. Like, why entrust such a potentially world-shaking document to a naïve young priest who doesn’t seem to know which end is up most of the time? Why keep him in the dark so long? Also, the mysterious document is never clearly named or identified. (If you recognize “Philipp Melanchthon” and “Wittenberg,” you’re halfway home.) Additionally, some readers may appreciate the period-accurate dialogue as authentic. Others may find it cumbersome.
Firmly anchored in the historical record and meticulously researched, this well-rounded, expertly written novel blows the dust off a too-often-forgotten but pivotal chapter of human history and breathes new life into the 16th century. And beyond. Ad Fontes.