I read this book years ago, as a teenager struggling with my own inner demons. It was one of the few books that made me cry, there were so many beautifully crafted scenes of humanity and redemption that resonated with what I was going through at that point in my life. Luke's mixed feelings and sometimes disdain for his father echoed some of the same feelings that I had for my parents, and woken me to the shame of having such unworthy feelings. Luke's lost of faith echoed my own inner struggles for identity, my constant feelings of inadequacy and unworthiness, and my then slowly dying faith in Christianity. My favorite scene in the whole book was a little story Mary told Luke: Lucifer, the Morningstar (portrayed here as an infinitely beautiful angel whose perfection is only marred by his own pride), took a clump of soil from the earth and showed it mockingly to Jesus, indicating that everything Jesus strives for is nothing more than dirt. Jesus then took up another clump of soil, and a plant grew and blossomed in his hand. Somewhere along the way, during those difficult years, I had also come to realise that this world, this life I've been given, is full of beauty and worthy things to struggle for and cherish, if only I would open my eyes and see them. I loved this book. BUY IT if you wish to read a fictionalised but touching account of St. Luke's life.
This novel is reminiscent of those that James Michener or Coleen McCullough write--that is, big, sweeping novels with historical content. Caldwell really brings Luke to life, from his beginnings as the young son of a greek freedman in the Roman Empire, to his ultimate search for Christ. Luke's spiritual search begins as a young child and continues throughout the Roman Empire, from a meeting with mysterious Chaldean priest, an encounter with Emperor Tiberius, up to his meeting with Mary, mother of Jesus. The background makes the Roman empire and the holy land in that time come to life. If you like historical novels, you can't go wrong with this one.
This is not only a great period read, but a truly outstanding novel. I thoroughly enjoyed every page of this book. Caldwell's research of the time period helps make the novel more believable, and makes the reader feel as if they were in the first century Roman Empire. Caldwell pays fine attention to detail when describing her settings, emotional natures, and physical traits of her characters. An example can be found on page 493; "The earth danced in heat waves; the sea flashed like blue fire." Here Caldwell personifies the earth, and uses simile to provide imagery of Lucanus's searching, and his attempts to record the life of Jesus. Again in the journey narrative, Caldwell uses metaphor to bring an ominous atmosphere to the mind's eye saying, "The moon was a yellow skull in the dark sky." Caldwell is careful not to clutter the work with description; she develops the plot well. I found her writing style easy to follow, which engages the reader and keeps them wanting more. There is no overwhelming theme of the novel; the book follows one man's journey, Lucanus (St. Luke), to come to know God and document the life of Christ. Although the book is religous in nature, Caldwell gives an objective perspective and does not preach to the reader. This is a great novel for people of all walks of life.
Taylor Caldwell's book on Luke the physician who in his later years traveled with St. Paul and who is believed to have authored "the Gospel according to Luke" is a masterpiece. The time Ms. Caldwell spent staying in and studying the Mediterranean world as well as absorbing all the information she could find about Luke paid off. This book is absolutely fascinating -- full of action, very well researched and written so vividly as to make the reader feel that he is living right there with Luke and accompanying him on his journey through life, his search for meaning in life and his first-century A.D. world. The problems of the physician in those times weren't much different from today in terms of trying to cure disease, bring new lives into the world and help the dying to leave it with as little pain and suffering as possible. What is very interesting is how much the physicians of his time did know, knowledge which was much more than our 20th-century generations give them credit for. However, for a man who outwardly had a very successful life, the real meat of the story lies in his feelings of being unfulfilled in his work and his constant seeking and yearning for deeper meaning to his life. Where he travels, whom he meets and how he finally comes to the discovery of this meaning bring the inner man to life and give us an excellent insight into this most special physician. I could hardly put the book down and and have lent it out so much that it is falling apart! Was delighted to find a hard-cover version for my library on Amazon.com.
I have loved Taylor Caldwell for 25 years, since I was in my teens. This book is hands down my favorite. She brings Luke and the historical events surrounding him to life with her stunning prose and descriptive text. I have read this book no less than 4 times and each time enjoy it more than the last. It renews my faith and brings me closer to God with every read through. I also recommend Great Lion of God, The Earth is the Lord's, and I Judas.