Sword and Serpent
Publisher: Saint John Press
Publication Date: November 11, 2014
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The year is A.D. 299. Diocletian rules the Roman Empire. And the gods have suddenly fallen silent.
17-year-old Jurian doesn’t have time for the gods. He’s trying to hold his family together after his father died in disgrace, and piety -- even to the Christ -- just isn’t practical. But then a ruthless enemy targets his family, forcing Jurian to make a choice: will he pursue the glory he’s always wanted, or will he sacrifice everything to protect a faith that was never really his own?
On the other side of the Empire, the young priestess Sabra shields her people from the terrible vengeance of the old god she serves. But even as she offers the dark and bloody sacrifices the god demands, visions of desolation haunt her dreams. As suspicion tightens its stranglehold on her city, Sabra must unravel the mystery of the god’s portents before everything she’s ever loved is destroyed.
Fear of the gods’ silence sparks a bloody persecution that will soon consume the Empire. As the fires of suspicion and hatred ignite around them, Jurian and Sabra are drawn together by a mysterious prophecy...one that will set them on a journey to battle an evil beyond imagining.
Saints aren’t born.
They are forged.
Taylor Marshall writes both fiction and non-fiction. His debut novel Sword and Serpent reached #1 Amazon Bestseller in Young Adult Religious Historical Fiction and #1 Amazon Bestseller in Young Adult Religious Action. His favorite authors are JRR Tolkien, Evelyn Waugh, CS Lewis, and Thomas Aquinas. As a college professor and father of eight children, he stirs up his literary passion for relating profound truths in ways that are fun and intriguing. Taylor holds a Ph.D. in Philosophy from the University of Dallas. His dissertation was titled: "Thomas Aquinas on Natural Law and the Twofold Beatitude of Humanity. He is a graduate of Texas A&M University (BA, Philosophy) Westminster Theological Seminary (MAR, Systematic Theology), Nashotah Theological House (Certificate in Anglican Studies), and the University of Dallas (MA, Philosophy). Taylor and his wife Joy live in Colleyville, Texas with their eight children.
Epic story; that is the best way to sum up this book! I have become a fan of Dr. Marshall's blog and podcasts. I have even read a few of this theological works, but this narrative as historical fiction was an amazing read. For a number of years in university I wore a Saint George medal that my grandmother had given me. This retelling of the legend of Saint George and the Dragon brings it to live in a new way.
The writing in this tale is masterful, set in A.D. 299, in the Roman empire it weaves tales and stories of a number of saints, into a very addictive read. In many ways it reads like Jack Whyte's historical fiction but with a stronger Christian message. In some ways it reads like Tolkien in its epic proportions and alternating story lines that eventually weave together. This was a thoroughly addictive read. Once I got into it, it was very hard to put down. The characters are wonderfully written.
The elements of myth, fantasy and history blend so well in this novel that at times as you are transported into the story you forget it is historical fiction and enter the world Taylor Marshall has created.
I believe that this would have been a book that both Tolkien and Lewis would have loved. I can picture the Inklings sitting with a pint discussing the story and speculating where it would go next. And according to Taylor's website that sequel will be out in 2016.
This was an incredible read. I average well over 100 books read each year. And this was one of the best that I have read in a long, long time. If you have an interest in ancient Rome, early Christianity, dragons or even just love a good read you need to give this book a try.
This is an exciting trek into early Christian times when Christians feared to identify themselves in pagan Rome and its outlying provinces.