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The Quiet Light

4.28  ·  Rating Details ·  327 Ratings  ·  27 Reviews
The famous novelist Louis de Wohl presents a stimulating historical novel about the great St. Thomas Aquinas, set against the violent background of the Italy of the Crusades. He tells the intriguing story of St. Thomas who - by taking a vow of poverty and joining the Dominicans - defied his illustrious, prominent family's ambition for him to have great power in the Church. ...more
Paperback, 377 pages
Published October 1st 1996 by Ignatius Press (first published 1950)
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Tom Tabasco
Jan 05, 2013 Tom Tabasco rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read the Italian version of this book, and I find the Italian title to be more meaningful than "The quiet light". The Italian title translates to "The freeing of the giant", a title that captures two main themes in the book: 1) the power of Saint Thomas's work in reconciling catholic faith with Aristotelian philosophy (Aristotle being the giant); and 2) the story of how Saint Thomas, as a kid, had been imprisoned by his own family who didn't want him to join the Dominican order, and how he ult ...more
Julie Davis
Jun 18, 2013 Julie Davis rated it it was amazing
Having finished G.K. Chesterton's The Dumb Ox for my book club, I thought it would be good supplementary material to read a more straight forward biography of this saint. hesterton is amusing and clever and did a fine job of making me appreciate Aquinas, but he obviously was counting on the reader to already know the basics. As I know only a smattering of legends, I needed more! Based on reading de Wohl's The Restless Flame about Augustine, I thought he'd be a good source for Aquinas's life stor ...more
Jul 26, 2012 Darryl rated it really liked it
Enjoyed reading about the man who was one of the greatest teachers we have had in the church. Along with St. Augustine, St. Thomas is recognized at helping explain Catholic theology. St. Thomas was also the answer to the apologetics being offered by the Islamic world of the time. De Wohl paints the portrait of a man enraptured by the love of God, whose love of God culminated in his departure from this life.

De Wohl captures the pressure the church was under by Emperor Fredrick II at the time.
Oct 25, 2008 Anthony rated it it was amazing
This "novel about St. Thomas Aquinas" is really a novel about other people experiencing St. Thomas Aquinas, which is really the only way you can write a story about the Angelic Doctor, since no once could possibly get inside his head. Fortunately the supporting story is very good, dealing with the apostate Frederick II and the intrigues surrounding his court, and centering on an English knight and his hopeless love for a lady above his station. Through it all the De Wohl weaves the benign, brill ...more
Jan 03, 2013 Jeandana rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this book! a lot of the time I don't Really enjoy my school books, but I enjoyed this one enormously! The characters were very well done, and I loved all the parts where Thomas explains things- it was beautifully explained, and very touching. I really liked the writing style of the author, and I think I might look into some of his other books.
Sep 05, 2011 Karen rated it really liked it
A wonderful biography disguised as fiction, as most of de Wohl's books are. It's made me want to start reading the Summa Theologica soon!
Guille Heff
Apr 03, 2013 Guille Heff rated it it was amazing
I loved it! Even if it is a historical novel I think it conveys perfectly well the inside struggle of a great thinker can be.
Feb 18, 2016 Frederick rated it it was amazing
I was surprised when I read the book to realize that it wasn't a simple devout hagiography like Chesterton's St. Thomas Aquinas, but instead a sweeping medieval romance, a Bayeux tapestry dramatizing Aquinas and his cohorts. The secret of the book is that it dramatizes the times which Dante contemplates in his The Divine Comedy. Aquinas does play his role, but the book brings to life many of the other cast of the Divine Comedy, most notably Frederick II, who appears in the Comedy as the great un ...more
Sep 24, 2013 Cris rated it really liked it
A very amusing book, said to be de Wohls best. Not a masterpiece of literature but just good meat and potatoes. I've not gone over the minutiae yet to see how accurate it is yet, but it doesn't seem that terribly innaccurate. Its a wonderful book to give to a mature teen to get him soaked up on the era, the people or the theology because it definitely breathes life into history. However, there is a little bit of sexual innuendo concerning the episode of Thomas and the harlot, but it is balanced ...more
Christopher Taylor
May 02, 2016 Christopher Taylor rated it really liked it
Although I've studied the works of Thomas Aquinas to some extent, I knew very little of his life. This book is a story set during Thomas' life, rather than a biography, a fictional account of the very turbulent times and the intellectual battles as well as the wars that took place in those years.

Aquinas is a minor supporting character in the book, but somehow ends up being a key, central figure that shapes the entire story of a thrilling series of adventures and dramatic clash between Christian
Jan 14, 2015 Papalodge rated it really liked it
Surpisingly, to me, a very strong story. The author had asked Pope Pius XII if he had any suggestion on a subject for his next novel. The pope recommended St.Thomas from Aquino.
Again, surprisingly, the novel does not entirely center on St. Thomas; rather the events affecting his family is the crux of the story.
The conflicts between the emporer, various popes and the crusades, this time, led by the king of France, envelopes the Aquino family. During the years involved, most of the family die; eit
Dec 18, 2010 Erik rated it really liked it
Shelves: catholic
For most books you can't wait to pick up again, it is because of the anticipation of what is coming. the hook. But this book I enjoyed each page as it went. I felt in the moment throughout. You get a good feel for Thomas and his world because the story more or less revolves around him rather than being directly about him. I look forward to more books by de Wohl.
Maureen Mahowald
Mar 17, 2012 Maureen Mahowald rated it liked it
This book places the life of St. Thomas Aquinas in a historical fiction setting. I knew little to nothing about the 13th century so it was a very interesting book to read. I was frequently logged onto Wikipedia while reading this book to look up more information on the time period and to keep the fact vs fiction straight.
Arthur Lammers
Jan 22, 2014 Arthur Lammers rated it it was amazing
Fantastic work of historical fiction; makes me wonder why they have so many fluff and useless books for young adults and children in school. Great storyline, never presented as a textbook...just enjoyable to read and encouraged further self-learning through curiosity.
Colleen Sullivan
Aug 04, 2014 Colleen Sullivan rated it it was amazing
It was a good historical novel. It had me checking historical facts and biographies. St. Thomas Aquinas isn't the main character --- it is more a story showing the impact of a saint's life on others.
Cristina Montes
Aug 16, 2010 Cristina Montes rated it it was amazing
Both philosophical and romantic. I love the clarity and depth of St. Thomas Aquinas' thoughts lurking behind his phlegmatic personality, as well as the noble love of Piers Rudde for Theodora. Awesome!
Cami Bledel
Mar 20, 2013 Cami Bledel rated it really liked it
Vida de Santo Tomas de Aquino, es entretenido porque trata la historia sobre su familia y las cruzadas. Recomendado por profesora Alejandra de Filosofia en 7 año
Mar 12, 2013 Kristen rated it really liked it
Really enjoyed this. Didn't know too much about St. Thomas Aquinas or about the culture of the time period. A fast read.
Trish Lefner
May 22, 2013 Trish Lefner rated it really liked it
I liked this book, but I felt it had more to do with a family servant, a knight, rather than the saint. Interesting story!
Jul 29, 2009 Katie rated it really liked it
I couldn't put it down!!
Aug 27, 2010 TheRose rated it it was amazing
Another fantastic novel!
May 15, 2008 Kristi rated it it was amazing
My favorite!
Lynn Therrien
Jan 05, 2015 Lynn Therrien rated it it was amazing
Odd first chapter, but an excellent read. I cam away from this feeling like kin to St. Thomas Aquinas. I loved the protagonist and think most women would be drawn to his character. Very inspiring!
Andrew Votipka
Jan 12, 2016 Andrew Votipka rated it it was amazing
Louis de Wohl is a master hagiographer.
Sabina Ciardi
Jan 21, 2016 Sabina Ciardi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Molto Ben fatto
Feb 12, 2016 Helena rated it really liked it
This book was incredible. It was very interesting to look into the life of St. Thomas Aquinas and how he was so persistent in selflessly obeying his call from God.
Guille Heff
Feb 17, 2015 Guille Heff rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Facil de leer y con mucho material meditativo.
Aimee marked it as to-read
Sep 26, 2016
Bernie marked it as to-read
Sep 24, 2016
Hrvoje rated it it was amazing
Sep 21, 2016
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Mr. de Wohl was a Knight Commander of the Order of the Holy Sepulchre and his wife (nee Ruth Magdalene Lorch, whom he married in 1953) is a Lady Commander of the same Order. His fifty books include The Living Wood (Lippincott, 1947), Imperial Renegade (id., 1950), The Restless Flame (id., 1951), Throne of the World (id., 1949; published in England as Attila), The Golden Thread (Lippincott, 1952), ...more
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