Lady Jane's Reviews > The Betrayal: A Novel on John Calvin

The Betrayal by Douglas Bond
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's review
Mar 11, 2011

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bookshelves: fiction-christian
Read from April 18 to May 13, 2011

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. Telling Calvin's story through the eyes of a sworn enemy was a very useful, dramatic device--particularly at the story's end.

I really appreciated Bonds' skill in in making the French Reformation real, placing Calvin in a world of which I am very unfamiliar. Ever the teacher, I warmly suspect, Bonds also further acquaints readers, such as myself, who are Calvin novices, with Calvin's theology by inserting modern language translations of his work into The Betrayal's narrative in the form of short sermons Calvin gives or conversations he has.

It is unfortunate that this book appears to be somewhat marketed as a suspenseful page-turner. I did not find it to be so. I enjoyed The Betrayal and was informed by it. However, I describe it as historical fiction that occasionally is suspenseful. I read over half the book before I really got into it.

The Betrayal is an engaging introduction to the life and times of John Calvin.

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