The latest release in the Christian Epic series is an exciting novel that takes place shortly after Christ's death and resurrection. Basil is called to design the case which will hold the silver cup that Christ and His disciples drank from at the Last Supper, and plans to sculpt their likenesses upon it. As he seeks out these followers of Christ, he encounters grave danger.
©2010 Thomas B. Costain (P)2010 Random House
I am an avid eclectic reader.
This book was written in 1952 and was on the New York Times best seller list for 62 weeks. It was also made into a movie starring Paul Newman as Basil. It was Newman's first movie. The story was inspired by the archaeological discovery of a 1st century silver chalice in Antioch. Thomas B. Costain was a leading author of the 1940s and 50's writing in the area of historical fiction, he is famous for his lengthy description fortunately this book had only small descriptions, just enough to make you feel as if you are there. Costain was one of my favorite authors in the 1950's so when I saw this on Audible I jumped at the chance to re-read this book. This one and The Black Rose were my favorite books at the time. The plot of the story has Basil (a Greek) as a child with a gift as an artist. He caught the eye of a rich Antioch merchant who adopted him. When he was a youth the merchant died and the merchants brother defrauded Basil of his inheritance and sold him into slavery to a silversmith. Basil learned his trade and later his freedom was brought by Luke, the physician and was taken to Joseph of Arimathea to create the case to hold the silver chalice. He meets Paul and the apostle Peter and the story was lots of suspense as the zealots try to destroy the chalice and Simon Magus the magician try to destroy the story of Jesus. The story takes place in Israel and in Rome. Costain is a master at building up his character as he propels the story. there is a love story tucked into the main plot as Basil weds Deborah, daughter of Joseph of Arimathea. If you like historical fiction and stories of ancient times you will enjoy this book. David Case does an excellent job narrating this story.
Basil's epic quest to create the silver chalice takes him from Antioch to Jerusalem to Rome where he meets such historic characters as Luke, Paul, and Joseph of Arimathea. The author presents vivid descriptions of everyday life during the 1st century and has obviously done considerable research. David Case does an excellent job providing unique voices for the many characters. I found this story of faith and romance to be delightful.
The story is sweeping, gripping, and excellently told. It will stick with me. A story of quiet courage and great passion.
It was very unBiblical. It included praying to angels, being visited by dead relatives, a heavenly 'score sheet' where it was important for good deeds to outweigh bad, the importance of making an image of Christ (hello idolatry!), and several other issues. That was up to chapter 26. Maybe things changed later, but it wasn't something I could listen to with a clear conscience.
Probably not. If The Silver Chalice is any indicator of his beliefs, then I would rather not fill up on false teachings.
The narration was not great. I've heard much better. His voices were strange and it was hard to get into the book. Most of the older men's voices were harsh and abrasive. It didn't seem realistic.
The plot is quite interesting and I would love to have seen where it was going, but I don't want to listen to unBiblical concepts presented without dispute. It would be one thing if when Basil prayed to an angel and believed his prayer was answered by that angel and Luke, the Gospel writer, corrected his mistake. Instead, he endorses the young man's views and prayers! Really? And the author has Paul endorsing a graven image of Christ, himself, and the other disciples. Hardly likely!
If you are looking for historical fiction that is Biblically sound, check out When Jesus Wept and Take this Cup by the Thoene family, The Mark of the Lion series by Francine Rivers, or even The Robe by Lloyd C. Douglas. Those are better choices.
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