Father Elijah: An Apocalypse
Publisher: Ignatius Press
Publication Date: 1997-11-01
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Michael O'Brien presents a thrilling apocalyptic novel about the condition of the Roman Catholic Church at the end of time. It explores the state of the modern world, and the strengths and weaknesses of the contemporary religious scene, by taking his central character, Father Elijah Schafer, a Carmelite priest, on a secret mission for the Vatican which embroils him in a series of crises and subterfuges affecting the ultimate destiny of the Church.
Father Elijah is a convert from Judaism, a survivor of the Holocaust, a man once powerful in Israel. For twenty years he has been "buried in the dark night of Carmel" on the mountain of the prophet Elijah. The Pope and the Cardinal Secretary of State call him out of obscurity and give him a task of the highest sensitivity: to penetrate into the inner circles of a man whom they believe may be the Antichrist. Their purpose: to call the Man of Sin to repentance, and thus to postpone the great tribulation long enough to preach the Gospel to the whole world.
In this richly textured tale, Father Elijah crosses Europe and the Middle East, moves through the echelons of world power, meets saints and sinners, presidents, judges, mystics, embattled Catholic journalists, faithful priests and a conspiracy of traitors within the very House of God. This is an apocalypse in the old literary sense, but one that was written in the light of Christian revelation.
"I've read thousands of books, and this is one of the great ones. I hope tens of thousands read it, and are shaken as I have been. It's a novel that grips one like a thriller -- indeed it is a thriller, but also something far deeper. There are love and friendship, interwoven with drama, but what it is essentially is faith, faith in the Christ." ---Sheldon Vanauken, Author, A Severe Mercy
"Father Elijah is that rare thing, a great novel which is also a testimony to orthodox Catholicism. But it is more even than this. Basing himself squarely on Scripture and human experience, O'Brien has produced a prophetic work and a manual of spiritual warfare. This compelling masterpiece will stretch your imagination in the right direction. Read it and pray." ---Stratford Caldecott, Centre for Faith and Culture, Oxford
"I guarantee you that once you take up this book you will not put it down until the end of the world. Here is a meaty page-turner with the pace of a thriller, beautifully written, and that something more that turns entertainment into literature." ---Ralph McInerny, Author, Fr. Dowling Mysteries
Michael O'Brien, born in Ottawa, Canada, in 1948 is a well-known writer on religion and culture. His essays have appeared in several international journals and anthologies concerned with these topics, urging the people of the Western world to examine the negative effects of materialism, and to rediscover authentic spiritual sources in the absolutes of the Christian faith.
Both his written work and visual art have been reviewed and reproduced widely. He is an author of several books, notably his seven volume series of novels published by Ignatius Press of San Francisco. The first volume, Father Elijah, published in 1996, has sold more than 40,000 copies in hardcover, and subsequent novels have also sold well.
Father Elijah is one of the best pieces of Catholic fiction that I have read in a long while. It draws the reader in and doesn't let you go until you reach the end of the tale, as all fiction should. I lost nearly an entire night of sleep reading this! At the same time, this book is sobering. It serves as a reminder of one's own death, as well as a reminder of the Last Judgement each man shall face. I found many of the elements the author incorporated in the plot to be relevant to the current situation in the Church and in the world. The author portrays evil as it truly is: horrible and disgusting. The devil and his minions are not portrayed as sympathetic (as so many foolish persons imagine them to be). Rather, the horror of evil makes the reader turn with greater conviction to Jesus. Any piece of fiction that leaves the reader with the impulse to pick up their rosary is a good one. This is a book I heartily recommend.