Great Lion of God
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Great Lion of God

4.06 of 5 stars 4.06  ·  rating details  ·  803 ratings  ·  38 reviews
This classic, epic novel by the acclaimed novelist Caldwell, is a fascinating, moving and spiritual story about St. Paul, and the life and times of the Jews, Romans and early Christians during the time of Jesus and shortly thereafter. It is a rich and textured work that combines Caldwell's wonderful literary skills with a profound spiritual depth that reveals the amazing s...more
Paperback, 704 pages
Published February 12th 1982 by Fawcett (first published 1970)
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Chris Blocker
*This book review is largely about the author, and contains some opinion. Flag at your discretion.*

There's a good chance you've never heard of Taylor Caldwell. She was a popular author once upon a time, but then just “disappeared.” If you're a regular at book sales or used bookstores, you've probably come across her books before, but likely didn't pay them much attention. Before I get around to my review of Great Lion of God, I'd like to introduce Ms. Caldwell, and spend a few minutes discussing...more
I didn't particularly appreciate Saint Paul or his writings until I read this book (unabridged). I am not a fan of historical fiction using real persons, but this one is credible and scripturally accurate. I delighted in Taylor's gift of the description (not everyone's cup of tea).
Nov 21, 2013 Mike rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition Recommends it for: Anyone

Great Lion of God

Edited & Corrected Review November 21, 2013

Intro/Mea Culpa:

First off, my apologies for having created the original review and incorrectly writing about Caldwell’s Dear and Glorious Physician! I’m not entirely sure how I managed to write the essay but then create the wrong book when I posted the review. Many thanks to Constanza (see comments below) for reading this review and commenting on my error.

I have created a review for Dear and Glorious Physician (DAGP) with the mater...more
Georgia Herod
Paul the Apostle is the subject of Caldwell's story. She has created a man of "leonine" proportions, one who lived as passionately before his Damascus Road experience as afterward. Because I am also reading through the Bible and have been in the book of Acts, it has been fascinating to read coinciding portions. I admire writers who can envision the gaps and take brief comments and expand them in technicolor. Caldwell does that! Paul becomes larger than life as he wrestles with his faith, his hum...more
Sandy Hearn
I have read several of Taylor Caldwell's books, some of them including this one she has done a great deal of research on and she explains a lot in great length. But this one was hard to finish, which I did. She went on far too much about about the characters opinions of life and etc. This is the life story of St Paul also known as Saul, be spent most of his life as a very bitter unhappy man. He has sex once in his entire life and spent the rest of his life feeling worthless about it because he...more
Erin Miller
one of my favorites, if not, my favorite. I love the apostle Paul. This is such a wonderfully written fictional story of his life with as much biblical knowledge as possible.
Cami Bledel
Exelente!!! trata sobre la vida se San Pablo, muy entretenido ver como llego a ser ese hombre santo, y la perspectiva que el tenia sobre Jesus
Her best biblical character novel by far! I have read it 3 times!
This is the first book I ever put away unfinished. I was raised to believe it was a special sort of sin to show disrespect to a book, but I just could not make myself continue reading. I had read over 350 pages and NOTHING had happened. This was supposed to be the life of one of the most well-traveled, aggressive and strong-willed individuals in Christian history! This, the first of my many sins against literature, occurred in the early 1970's, when I was incredibly young and naive. Perhaps my o...more
While some of St. Paul's writings are sublimely beautiful, I can sometimes find him a bit abrasive and harsh. Caldwell takes this personality trait and builds a believable character and weaves in his writings (after his conversion.)
However, the book never quite flowed smoothly for me. Parts would move quickly, and others would slow down to a pace that I was sure I'd never finish.
A good read, but probably not one I'll return to again and again.
My two-star rating is purely a visceral reaction to the character and has nothing to do with the quality of the writing.

I read this book when I was a young teen. I'm sure it was well-written; Taylor Caldwell is a fine writer. I only gave it two stars because it caused me to dislike St. Paul. I mean, how bad of an arrogant #### do you have to be so that the only thing that'll turn you around is to have God himself (in the form of Jesus Christ) appear before you and strike you blind?

I also read D...more
My book club picked this book, because this liturgical year is dedicated to St. Paul. As well, we had previously read Grandmother and the Priests by Taylor Caldwell and which we all loved. Caldwell's research into biblical times bears fruit in this immense novel, moving from Paul's upper-class upbringing in Tarsus to his traveling to Jerusalem. I enjoyed very much how the author brought in to Paul's life, prior to his conversion, John the Baptist, Joseph of Arimathea, and of course, Jesus and Hi...more
i read this book when it was written in the seventies and decided i needed to read again. st paul is so influential in christianity and this historical fiction turns him into a real person. albeit who knows how his life really was. did put some history in place for me.

an interesting commentary by the author in the foreward..."as the american republic is declining today". written over 40 years ago it could have been written right now.

a good book.
Angela Joyce
Passionate, detailed, exciting, and an altogether fascinating read. My one complaint is the frequency with which Paul's looks are described. I got it the first time-- in this story, he has red hair, blue eyes, freckles, a unibrow and a leonine way about him. No need to remind us every three pages for the whole flippin' book. Otherwise, great stuff.
I loved this book and just finished re-reading it thirty-some years after my first time through. The Apostle Paul is my personal hero so it was really fun and really interesting to see how Taylor Caldwell fleshed him out through fiction. Of course, I had my New Testament and Google at the ready throughout the reading, so I learned as I perused:)
Again Taylor Caldwell's story of the disciple Paul before and after his transformative experience was great reading given my own leaning to Paulineian (sp?) ideas -- and yes, I know there are controversies there. Caldwell's Biblical lives fictions are one of my little caches of books which I keep handy.
Kate Hart
Taylor Caldwell brings the biblical character of St. Paul to vibrant life. I would recommend that open-minded Christians read "Search for a Soul" by Jess Stearn to further enhance their understanding of the depth of this writer's perspective.
Kim Preslar
This story is a fascinating look at the life and angst of St. Paul the apostle. Again, incredible research is obvious in the writing. I have a much greater appreciation of the books he penned in the New Test.
Marian Kaye
It's been awhile but I did enjoy TC's book especially thinking about the Apostle Paul. My husband read it first and he chose to call our youngest daughter by the love of Paul's former life...Dacyl Kehaulani.
This has to be my ultimate favorite book of all time. I love this story, again a Christian fiction done lovingly for the reader. Poignant rather than preachy. LOVE IT.
Arthur K
after you read this book, pick up your bible and read any of the books of paul. taylor caldwell has a way of story telling, that brings you inside the tale.
All of us have favorite saints....and I have to say, St. Paul frightens me a bit. I'm such a wimp. Good book though, from what I can recall.
Nimfa C.
If one would want to know more about the life of St. Paul before his conversion on the road to Damascus, this is the book to read. A great read!
I read this as a 14 year old and even then it seemed a little over the top - enjoyed it a lot, but I get the feeling it hasn't aged well.
Lucero Gil
como en todos sus libros, escribe maravilloso, en este libro creo que le faltó algo, por momentos aburría pero termina bien.
Sandy Kubala
Taylor Caldwell is often difficult to read the first few chapters but you soon learn that the effort is worth it.
Have never liked Paul and this just about confirmed me in that belief. He really was a very unpleasant man
I would NOT recommend this book to anyone! I just didn't like it at all!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Jeff Crosby
Mar 28, 2013 Jeff Crosby marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
I started it several times, but it never matched Dear and Glorious Physician.
Caldwell's best in my opinion. A rich, dense read about St. Paul.
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Also known by the pen names Marcus Holland and Max Reiner.

Taylor Caldwell was born in Manchester, England. In 1907 she emigrated to the United States with her parents and younger brother. Her father died shortly after the move, and the family struggled. At the age of eight she started to write stories, and in fact wrote her first novel, The Romance of Atlantis, at the age of twelve (although it...more
More about Taylor Caldwell...
Captains and the Kings Dear and Glorious Physician Testimony of Two Men A Pillar of Iron I, Judas

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