Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Betrayal: A Novel on John Calvin” as Want to Read:
The Betrayal: A Novel on John Calvin
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Betrayal: A Novel on John Calvin

4.16  ·  Rating Details ·  191 Ratings  ·  30 Reviews
Enter the brilliance and decadence of renaissance France in this fast-paced biographical novel on John Calvin. Told from the perspective of a rival whose envy escalates to violent intrigue and shameless betrayal, JEAN CAUVIN is a tale of how God uses the humility and unflinching faithfulness of Calvin to break down the barrenness and bitterness of a chief of sinnersall ...more
Paperback, 383 pages
Published June 1st 2009 by P & R Publishing
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Betrayal, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Betrayal

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
The Betrayal by Douglas Bond is a very well written novel on the life of John Calvin. The way Bond portrays him through the eyes of his personal servant (and sworn enemy) gives a unique picture of his life.


The characters were well done. Jean-Louis, the protagonist, is a very interesting character. His emotions are shown very vividly; his intense feelings toward Calvin drive his every action. The growth of the characters throughout the story was also well executed.


Likewise, the p
Mar 07, 2012 Jane rated it it was ok
Where I got the book: e-ARC from NetGalley

The story of John Calvin from the viewpoint of Jean-Louis, his servant and, initially, his enemy.

When I started this book, I actually had to stop and go make sure this wasn't some kind of reprint of a public domain novel from an earlier era. The whole style of The Betrayal struck me as startlingly nineteenth-century, from the language used to the proportion of dialogue to narration. It even had the "validation" format of a Victorian novel, where the main
John Gardner
Jun 19, 2011 John Gardner rated it really liked it
Murder, corruption, political intrigue... this is the stuff of blockbuster movies and top-selling novels today, but it was reality for those living in Europe during the turbulent 16th-century Protestant reformation. It is a fascinating time to study — not to mention an important part of our Christian heritage — but often comes across as dry and unappealing in the history books and traditional biographies. Thankfully, Douglas Bond has brought this period to life in this novel, which shows us just ...more
Lady Jane
May 13, 2011 Lady Jane rated it liked it
Douglas Bond does a good job in illuminating the life, thought and character of John Calvin in The Betrayal--not an easy task in that Calvin's battlefield was in a realm of ideas and not action. Narrated in the first person, through the eyes of Calvin's most intimately placed enemy, The Betrayal establishes the historical context in which Calvin lived and worked, follows Calvin from childhood through death and captures the progression and nuances of both his theoretical and practical theology. T ...more
Natalie Wickham
A captivating novel on the life of the famous reformer, John Calvin, this book was definitely a page-turner! I loved the vivid word pictures Mr. Bond created with his writing that quickly transport the reader back to the tumultuous 16th Century in Europe. The story is told from the perspective of the fictional character Jean-Louis Mourin, personal attendant to Calvin. Historical events and figures are woven into the plot and the “voice” of Calvin is extracted from his many writings, lending an ...more
Angie Head
Jul 15, 2016 Angie Head rated it it was amazing
Engaging, riveting and thrilling. Historical fiction at its best!
Jesseca Wheaton
Nov 22, 2016 Jesseca Wheaton rated it really liked it
Really loved this book! A great look at the life of John Calvin, and told from a very unique perspective.
Dec 10, 2015 Annette rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
The story is told by a chronicler, who attends early school with John Calvin – French theologian and pastor during the Protestant Reformation in the early 16th century. The venom of his voice and his actions are very clear.

The author’s writing is brilliant in every aspect, the word choice and tone; the story reflecting the “iron self-disciplined” character; and the atmosphere of painful reality of the 16th century Paris’ burnings of those who dared to question clergymen. This historical fiction
Jan Drexler
Nov 08, 2011 Jan Drexler rated it it was amazing
For adults who have enjoyed Douglas Bond’s other historical fiction novels, The Betrayal will come as no surprise.

Douglas Bond’s meticulous research adds rich detail to this story of John Calvin’s life, told from the view of a fictional boyhood rival, Jean-Louis Mourin. The story unfolds as a manuscript, penned by Jean-Louis in the 1500’s, is found in the bombed ruins of a building in Noyon during World War I. We then read the tale of a life of a gifted boy who grows into an articulate man who’s
Scott Cox
A very well written and moving historic novel by Douglas Bond . . . a new favorite!! Granted, I have long been a devotee of John Calvin's writings and life, but this novel can move one to tears. It brings alive (no pun intended) the horrors of the French inquisitions and burnings of those converted during the famous reformations of Europe. The reader is introduced to many of the famous reformers and Protestants of this era: Queen Marguerite of Navarre (sister of King Francis I), Jacques Lefevre ...more
Mar 01, 2015 Melissa rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: everyone
Recommended to Melissa by: friends and my mom
Maybe it wasn't quite as riveting as I was expecting, but it certainly had its riveting moments, and it was all-around fascinating, since I had not known much at all about Calvin's life, just his doctrine (which, granted, is a big part of who he was and a big part of his life). The story is written from the view-point of Calvin's enemy, who plans to take his "revenge." I'm not sure if he was a real character, but the situation seems fairly plausible. I learned quite a bit about Calvin's life and ...more
Jun 07, 2012 Frances rated it really liked it
A wonderful historical novel/biography of Calvin, this book is told from the perspective of his servant and betrayer. This device keeps it fast-paced and interesting. While it is technically historical fiction, Calvin's main dialogues are lifted or paraphrased right from his letters or writings. The Betrayal is somewhat hagiographic, and while Calvin was a true genius, this is probably not the most well-rounded portrayal of him.

There are a few anachronisms, such as "electricity" and birthday cak
Michelle Griep
Mar 08, 2011 Michelle Griep rated it really liked it
Fans of John Calvin rejoice! This is the book for you. There's a ton of copy taken from Calvin's writings here, all written in the guise of fiction. I'll admit that I'm not a huge reader of non-fiction, so this novel wasn't really my cup of tea. Not a whole lot of action aside from a few stake burnings and the ever-present threat of Calving getting caught. But he didn't. So it wasn't a page turner, for me anyway. And if you're hoping for romance, this would not satisfy your craving. ...more
Lee Button
Dec 15, 2015 Lee Button rated it really liked it
I would not normally recommend a novel but this one is different. Bond quotes Calvin throughout so a reader is learning who Calvin is and what he thinks even though the the work itself is not an exact biography. That makes this book unlike 'historical fiction.' The dates are historical and the main events are factual. I particularly appreciated the amount of effort spent to present a good accounting of Calvin's life in Geneva which produced his greatest accomplishments beyond the writing of his ...more
Apr 30, 2011 Virginia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Christian and history readers
What an interesting, exciting and heart warming way to understand the times and the man who stands with Luther as one of the most influential men in the history of Christianity. This well written, historical novel is written as seen through the eyes of his enemy. Through him, I came to love John Calvin, a most misunderstood man, then and now. The start is slow as you get a feel for the time and place, you will be gripped with suspense in the middle and end inspired by a great man of God.
Jul 30, 2013 Heather rated it did not like it
Shelves: did-not-finish
I made it almost halfway through before throwing in the towel. I enjoy reading historical fiction to picture what life might have been like for the historical figure. In this case, I know a bit about Calvin's theology, but almost nothing about his life, so I thought this novel would be interesting. Instead, Calvin seemed mostly peripheral to the story, and the narrator didn't interest me at all. The book didn't seem like it was going to get any better, so I've given up.
Oct 26, 2015 Allison marked it as gave-up
Shelves: h-a-read-aloud
Just can't do it anymore. I am not interested in the story, the narrator is annoying, and I have a very hard time engaging with the writing style (I won't go so far as to say pretentious, but it's pretty close).
Jan 28, 2011 Audrey rated it really liked it
Really good story about redemption and forgiveness, but also very historical. It talks a lot about the tension between the Roman Catholic Church and the Reformation. Very good book if you're interested in history.
Amy Meyers
Excellent. Somewhat difficult in places to feel either character, the main character or John Calvin, since the main character is talking about Calvin so much. I reviewed it here. (in book reviews)
Beth Anne
Aug 26, 2011 Beth Anne rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2010
This was a fascinating book...told by a fictional character about the life of John Calvin. The author did a ton of research, whenever Calvin speaks, it is often taken from his actual writings and speeches. Nice piece of historical fiction, full of lots of truth.

My first Kindle read.
Oct 26, 2010 Mac marked it as to-read
Shelves: douglas-bond
Since I really like Douglas Bond, I decided that I would try to read this book. I REALLY like Douglas Bond
Jul 02, 2011 Frode rated it really liked it
Bond writes a good story, plenty of suspense and theology wrapped together. I thought is was an engaging story, and it was cleverly done. I enjoyed this book.
Aug 17, 2015 Holly rated it really liked it
I would love it if Douglas Bond would write more historical fiction biographies like this one about all the other Reformation theologians and martyrs.
Laura rated it really liked it
Oct 05, 2015
Brittney rated it did not like it
Aug 10, 2012
Rachel rated it it was ok
Aug 25, 2011
Janet rated it really liked it
Nov 19, 2013
Karen rated it really liked it
Dec 14, 2010
Sarah Knox
Sarah Knox rated it it was amazing
Jan 22, 2016
Nathan Wiebe
Nathan Wiebe rated it it was amazing
Nov 25, 2013
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Looking for the King (Inklings, #1)
  • The Princess Adelina: An Ancient Christian Tale of Beauty & Bravery
  • Ten P's in a Pod: The Million-Mile Journal of a Home School Family
  • Ishmael
  • The Hidden Smile of God: The Fruit of Affliction in the Lives of John Bunyan, William Cowper, and David Brainerd (The Swans Are Not Silent, #2)
  • St. Bartholomew's Eve: A Tale of the Huguenot Wars
  • Titus: A Comrade of the Cross
  • Meeting God at Every Turn
  • The Prince's Poison Cup
  • The Gospel Focus of Charles Spurgeon (A Long Line of Godly Men Profile)
  • Call of Duty: The Sterling Nobility of Robert E. Lee
  • To Have and to Hold: A Tale of Providence and Perseverance in Colonial Jamestown
  • The Last Sacrifice
  • The Persecutor
  • Faithful Women and Their Extraordinary God
  • Coronation of Glory: The Story of Lady Jane Grey
  • Trial and Triumph: Stories from Church History
  • Here I Stand: A Life of Martin Luther
Douglas Bond, author of fifteen books, lives with his wife and six children in Washington State. He is a ruling elder in the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA), teaches English and history at Covenant High School, and was awarded the regional Teacher Award for teaching young people how to write. He lectures on literature and Church history and leads study tours in Europe.
More about Douglas Bond...

Share This Book