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The Silver Chalice

4.10  ·  Rating details ·  3,702 ratings  ·  155 reviews
The Silver Chalice is an English language historical novel by Thomas B. Costain. It's the fictional story of the making of a silver chalice to hold the Holy Grail (itself here conflated with the Holy Chalice) & includes 1st century biblical & historical figures: Luke, Peter, Joseph of Arimathea, Simon Magus & his companion Helena. The story was inspired by the ...more
Paperback, 840 pages
Published April 1st 2006 by Loyola Classics (first published 1952)
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4.10  · 
Rating details
 ·  3,702 ratings  ·  155 reviews

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Dec 04, 2007 rated it it was amazing
I had never heard of this book until I went to a homeschool bookstore and saw it on the shelves. The back said something about it being a classic, and that immediately caught my attention.

The entire book reminded me of Ben-Hur, just at a later time period. It is set quite a few years after the death of Jesus on the cross, and tells the story of a young man named Basil. He, just like Ben-Hur, is sold as a slave and looses his house, lands, and properties. One thing that Basil does have is an amaz
Nov 09, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a great HF first published in 1952 and set in the first century chronicling the rise and spread of the Christian faith. In order to tell a more authentic story, Costain uses real characters such as Joseph of Arimithea, Luke, Peter and other Apostles as well as Nero.

Basil, the main character, is legally adopted into a wealthy family but when the father dies, his position is usurped by his uncle and he is sold into slavery. Luke finds him as he is a prodigy sculptor and buys him out of sla
Basil, the son of a poor seller of pens and ink is adopted by a rich merchant in Antioch. The young man is a gifted sculptor and silversmith. Upon the merchant's death, his evil uncle steals his patrimony and sells him into slavery. The book follows his meeting early Christians and at the behest of Joseph of Arimathea [sp.?] he fashions a silver frame for the cup from which Jesus drank at the Last Supper. Basil travels from Antioch to Ephesus then Rome to sculpt the faces of the apostles, which, ...more
Jan Brooks
Feb 15, 2014 rated it liked it
Glad I had a couple of snowy days to push hard through this book. Read it as part of a challenge--this particular challenge was to read a book that was on the best-seller list on the year that you were born. The idea is to see what the world was like that you were born into.
The Silver Chalice is historical fiction about a gifted slave who was tapped to create a chalice for the cup that Christ had used at the Last Supper. So much information about the times--the apostles are aging men facing pers
L.   (Vacation All I Ever Wanted)
Despite a long and valiant battle to at least reach the middle, I've decided it is no longer worth my time to bother with this book. I don't care about any of the characters. I don't care what's going on. I just don't care. It's time to move on and tackle a more entertaining story.
Connie Rossini
Feb 19, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This is my favorite of Thomas Costain's novels. If you like both historical fiction and Christian fiction, you will find this story about the cup used at the Last Supper to be a gem. There's lots of excitement, romance, religion, and of course, history.
Josephine (Jo)
Apr 01, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favourites
A lovely old book which tells the fictional story of what became of the cup used by Jesus at the last supper. A young boy named Basil is sold into slavery after the death of his rich adoptive father and he is apprenticed to a silversmith. Basil has a great gift for art which he is not allowed to use whilst working for the silversmith, having to churn out basic items ordered by customers, but as he learns the trade and how to handle silver his gift becomes known. In a round about way Joseph of Ar ...more
Dec 04, 2012 rated it really liked it
Came across this book in a family library, and what a delightful and timely-read! Right before the holidays! I really enjoyed reading about the Apostles of Christ, especially how Luke was depicted, and the way the time-period was so brought to life. Makes it so much easier to understand, visualize and remember.

Especially, I was struck by how Christian philosophies differed from those around them, as we get to read of Basil's conversion. How her realizes that "turning the other cheek" (for a seco
Susan Stell
Jul 17, 2011 rated it really liked it
The Silver Chalice is a fictional, but historical novel written around the "making" of the "Silver Chalice," which some people interchange with the "Holy Grail." This novel includes some biblical characters such as the apostle Peter, Luke, etc., but also historical characters, and the time period is shortly after the death of Jesus.

The story depicts a young man, Basil, who at one time was wealthy, but is sold into slavery by an evil uncle who robs him of his freedom, wealth and all hope for the
Michael Del Camp
Apr 21, 2009 rated it it was amazing
This was a great book I read from my Grandmother's library as a kid. The book is about life in the times contemporaneous with the life of Jesus Christ, from the point of view of those around him, particularly Joseph of Arimathea, a rich elder of the era, who donated his own stone hewn tomb for Jesus' burial after crucified execution, that death from which Jesus arose three days hence. I enjoyed this book tremendously, and recommend it highly. In fact, this author has other titles I never got aro ...more
Mar 15, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This is a wonderful book, which I freely recommend to friends and family. It is interesting in its fictionalization of the post-Resurrection depiction of Christ's apostles and followers. Of course, we may all use our imaginations to flesh out these men (and women) from scriptural reading, but it is fun to read Costain's take on these people. The plot is shifty enough to keep us caring about the main characters and their strivings to better both their temporal and spiritual selves. If you like Th ...more
Sep 30, 2009 rated it liked it
This was a great book that taught me about everyday life during the time of the apostles. Even though it was largely through fiction, I learned about the difficulties of transitioning from pre-Christ followers-Jews-to the "new law" of Christianity. It also brought a desire in me to be artistically creative, even though my fruits were poor, the spirit of it was great! The love story was good as well!
Emily Hope
Feb 15, 2009 rated it it was amazing
This was a wonderful book! It was written 50 years before the DaVinci Code and was also about the beginnings of Christianity. Also like the DaVinci Code it was on the best seller list for multiple years. I read both books in the same summer and it is interesting to see the changing standards of popularity in the world. I really loved this book and would recommend it to anyone.
Oct 26, 2010 rated it it was amazing
I've read this book over and over again and just recently found it in a still unpacked pile of books and read it immediately. I love historical fiction and fiction about the early Church is pretty cool.
Hanzel Harry Fernandez
Jul 15, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Wow! Reading this book was a great experience. Its story line, the characters, everything makes you so indulged in them that you forget about your outside world. The narration is quite excellent. A must Read One!
Jun 17, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Me and my sweetie stumbled across this author while exploring a used book sale. His stuff is out of print now but what yummy reading! I love this kind of literature. You get lost in the richness of the words, descriptions, etc.
Mar 22, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2015, fiction
Read this when I was 13. Re-read it out of curiosity, didn"t remember any of it.
Terry Tschann Skelton
Jan 07, 2016 rated it really liked it
Read this as a teen. I loved it then!
Nov 25, 2017 rated it it was ok
I read this once when I was about 10, one of the particularly Catholic books my stepmother apparently didn't catch when our family moved in with hers - or she would've thrown it out. I thought of it then being a sort of Christian ethic, a C.S. Lewis historical fiction, or a proselytizing Edgar Rice Burroughs about the Holy Grail in early Christendom.

It's still those things, though time hasn't been kind to it. Costain's high-and-mighty old-school language sounds more like a gimmick. It does creat
Mary-Jean Harris
May 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: historical
This was a fascinating story with well-drawn out characters and an exciting plot. I found that the pervasive spirit of the chalice (the Holy Grail) gave the story a mystical quality that, although it was Christian, felt as though it was more than just the religion and touching to a truth beyond the trappings of customs. I wouldn't call this a "Christian" story, more of a historical one. Basil was a very likable character and his conversion to Christianity seemed natural through the stages he wen ...more
Linda DiMeo Lowman
I love historical novels and this one takes place during the reign of Nero when Rome ruled much of the civilized world. It begins in Antioch, moves to Jerusalem, then to Rome and back to Antioch. Several of the apostles are still alive and preaching and it was very dangerous to be a Christian. Both the Jews and the Romans reviled them. The story centers around the cup that Jesus drank from during the last supper and the boy who grows up to make the chalice that surrounds it. While no one knows w ...more
Natalie Wong
Jul 28, 2017 rated it liked it
I want to rate this book higher because it is so well researched, and brings part of the new testament to life. But I had an immensely hard time getting through it. It's not a tough read at all (although standing at 840 pages), the writing is simple and the story straight forward enough. But the way the writing is done (very descriptive) leaves no room for imagination and interpretation and I was, frankly, bored. If I weren't compulsive about finishing books I start I would have dropped it half ...more
Feb 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An historical novel set in the early years of Christianity in the Apostolic era, this is the story of Basil of Antioch, an artisan bought out of slavery to fashion a chalice which incorporates the cup Jesus used at the Last Supper, which Joseph of Arimathea had preserved. Read this back in my Junior High/High School years and don't remember much of the plot, but do remember really liking it at the time.
Jul 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
A fictional story of the making of silver chalice to hold the cup (Holy Grail) that was used by Jesus at the Last Supper. The book provides an interesting view of the times, including slavery, the belief in magic, and prosecution of the Christians.
P.S. Winn
Jul 24, 2017 rated it really liked it
Everyone who knows religion is curious about the Holy Grail. This story uses Biblical ideas along with fiction to examine the making of a silver chalice. I found the story interesting and thought provoking.
Nov 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
Great book!
Aug 09, 2018 rated it it was ok
Had high hopes for this book after it was recommended by a friend, but just couldn't get into it. The plot somehow felt wooden.
Mona Randall
Jul 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A well written historical fiction account of the silver chalice that Jesus drank from. Recommended highly
Larry Woods
Apr 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
Read back in 1970 while living in Hawaii
Mar 20, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2018
While the love story (and usually I'm a big fan) was a bit trite, the overall history and story of the early Christians - as the original apostles are aging and Nero is beginning his persecutions - was well done and enjoyable.
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Costain was born in Brantford, Ontario to John Herbert Costain and Mary Schultz. He attended high school there at the Brantford Collegiate Institute. Before graduating from high school he had written four novels, one of which was a 70,000 word romance about Maurice of Nassau, Prince of Orange. These early novels were rejected by publishers.

His first writing success came in 1902 when the Brantford
“Do you agree that we should order them back into the house and then scatter these watchers an send them home? If they refuse to obey there will be trouble. We will have to slit throats. I confess to you, Eleazer , that I do not like slitting throats at a wedding.” 2 likes
“A wedding? ...Where we told what to do incase of a wedding?” 1 likes
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