Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Byzantium

Byzantium is a book written by Stephen Lawhead and it follows the life of Aidan who is a monk in Ireland. He starts out on a pilgrimage to Byzantium with his fellow monks, who are bringing a gift to the emperor. Aidan goes expecting his death based on a dream he has before they leave. Along the way he is captured and made a prisoner of the Vikings and then enslaved. He is taken by the Vikings on a raiding trip to Byzantium as the Vikings, driven by greed wanted to plunder the ‘city of gold.’

After a strange turn of events where the Vikings end up being employed by the emperor, Aidan is on his way to take part in a meeting between a Byzantium official and an Arab Amir. During the course of events, the party Aidan is with is betrayed and Aidan along with the surviving Vikings, are put into the silver mines as slaves. There he meets the surviving monks from their original pilgrimage who also were betrayed. During this time Aidan starts to lose faith in God and believe God is not caring or just.

After Aidan is freed, he helps free his friends and goes to enact revenge on the person who betrayed them. Eventually, after getting his revenge he goes back to his homeland and monastery. There, his previous Viking master and, now, good friend helps to renew Aidan’s faith in God. Afterwards, he goes and ministers and preaches to the Vikings for almost all of the rest of his life. He dies at a ripe old age in Byzantium on his third pilgrimage there.

This book shows God’s sovereignty in Aidan’s life in the fact that the events that Aidan thought were acts of cruelty by God, actually brought about the conversion of many Vikings, renewal of his own faith, and the spreading of God’s church. This book also showed what life was really like during that time period although the author went into too much detail a few times. I thought that this was a really great book overall and showed God’s continual faithfulness even when we, in our sinful nature, become faithless.


Posted by ME

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