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Siding Star Paperback – September 10, 2012

4.4 out of 5 stars 17 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

Chris Bryan's imagination moves in the same universe as Charles Williams and C. S. Lewis.  Siding Star was a great read, and I'm eager for the next.
-- William S. Stafford, Dean of the School of Theology, The University of the South


Bryan's heroes aren't just likable but lovable: intelligent, amusing, hard-working, even kind to animals. In contrast, the novel's villains are truly spooky and disturbing; readers are always aware of the urgency of stopping their evil plans.  An enjoyable novel of spiritual mystery and adventure--well plotted, intelligent and deeply moving.--Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

About the Author

Christopher Bryan was born and grew up in London, and was educated at Oxford.  He is the author of several non-fiction books including And God Spoke, Render to Caesar, and The Resurrection of the Messiah. He and his wife Wendy now make their home in Sewanee, Tennessee and in Exeter, England.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 406 pages
  • Publisher: The Diamond Press (September 10, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0985391103
  • ISBN-13: 978-0985391102
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.9 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,314,716 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Biographical Notes on Christopher Bryan
The following extracts are adapted from Donald S. Armentrout, "Christopher Bryan: A Biographical Note." In Biblical Imagination: Essays in Honor of Christopher Bryan. Edited by Ellen Bradshaw Aitken. STR 50.1. Sewanee, Tennessee: The University of the South, 2006. 207-15. They remain the copyright of the author and The University of the South. For more information about Christopher Bryan, visit his website at http://christopherbryanonline.com/

Christopher Bryan was born in London, England, the only son of William Joseph Bryan, a British soldier, and Amy May Bryan. He spent his childhood and early adolescence in London, a period that included the whole of World War II. He still retains vivid memories of the outbreak of war in September 1939, the London Blitz (1940-1941), and subsequent events such as the dropping of the first atomic bomb.
He received most of his primary education from Saint Michael's (Church of England) Primary School on Star Street, near the Edgeware Road. After taking the "eleven plus" examination, he was awarded a place at Saint Marylebone Grammar School, which he attended from 1946 to 1954. Major influences on him at this time were the poet T. E. Blackburn, who was his form master, and the historian T. K. Derry. Bryan was awarded a Woodward Scholarship by Wadham College, Oxford, in 1954, and in 1957 a Ducker Exhibition. He graduated from Wadham successively in the Honour Schools of English Language and Literature (1957), and Theology (1959). Throughout this period, C. S. Lewis and Charles Williams were--and continue to be--major influences on him.
Bryan's formal religious life had begun as a teenager when he was confirmed and subsequently joined with enthusiasm the activities of a thriving Anglo-Catholic parish in London - Saint Mark's, Marylebone Road. Bryan is clear about his indebtedness to this Anglo-Catholic beginning. Father John Crisp, who was vicar of St. Mark's for most of this time, remains to this day his model of what a pastor should be. Bryan says, "He remains, quite simply, the finest parish priest I have ever known." As for Anglo-Catholicism, Bryan explains, "Christ came to me within the Anglo-Catholic tradition. There Christ called me, and there Christ has blessed me. Of course that means that I also appreciate the insights of the Reformation--I am, after all, an Anglo-Catholic, not a Roman Catholic. Thus, for example, the reformed theologian Karl Barth has been very important for me. Indeed, he has probably influenced me more than any other single theologian, although I have never been 'a Barthian,' - not least because I have always thought that he was quite wrong about baptism, and did not really understand the sacraments! But whilst I have indeed come to appreciate and value some aspects of the Reformation, it remains that Anglo-Catholic liturgy, Anglo-Catholic concern for social justice and for the poor, the Anglo-Catholic tradition of coming daily to God's table for the Eucharist, the availability of confession, joyful acceptance of the prayers and fellowship of blessed Mary and all the saints -- these things, by God's grace, are the basic furniture of my ecclesial home, and, in this life at least, I cannot imagine why I should ever either abandon or replace them."
Bryan's studies continued at Ripon Hall Theological College in Oxford, where he was trained for the priesthood. He was ordained to the diaconate of the Church of England by Mervyn Stockwood, Bishop of Southwark, in Southwark Cathedral on Trinity Sunday 1960, and to the priesthood on Trinity Sunday 1961, at which liturgy he was honored by being the appointed gospeller.
In 1972 he married Wendy Elizabeth Smith, only daughter of Jack Egbert Smith and Joan Dickinson Smith. They have subsequently lived in Alexandria, Virginia, in London, in Exeter, and in Sewanee, Tennessee, where in 2000 he was appointed C. K. Benedict Professor of New Testament at The University of the South. During this period he taught at various times in the Bahamas, Britain, Canada, Haiti, Israel, South Africa, Turkey, and the United States. Now in "semi-retirement" (whatever that means) Bryan continues to write vigorously, to teach, and to serve the church as a priest. In October 2012 the University of the South bestowed on Bryan the degree of Doctor of Divinity honoris causa in recognition of his servies to the academy and the church.
Bryan's most important non-fiction books to date are The Resurrection of the Messiah (Oxford, 2011), Render to Caesar: Jesus, the Early Church, and the Roman Superpower (Oxford, 2005), and the popular And God Spoke: The Authority of the Bible for the Church Today (Cowley, 2002), which was among the books commended to the bishops at the 2008 Lambeth Conference. His novels so far are Siding Star, which was published in November 2012, and in December 2012 was given a starred Kirkus review (the Kirkus star indicating "books of exceptional merit"), Peacekeeper, published in December 2013, and Singularity, published in 2014. He is currently working on a fourth, A Habit of Death.
Among Bryan's continuing personal delights he lists cooking and eating with Wendy and friends; his dogs; theater, especially Shakespeare; and opera, especially of the eighteenth and early nineteenth century. He is, in a small way, an actor himself, and in the semi-professional setting of the University of the South's Theater department is particularly proud of having played Gloucester in King Lear, Boyet in Love's Labours Lost, Quince in A Midsummer Night's Dream, and, most recently, Lord Lafeu in All's Well that Ends Well.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Siding Star is an absolutely fantastic book! Each time I put it down I couldn't wait for a free moment to pick it back up. I was carried away by the characters and found myself pulling for them with great emotion - and, knowing Chris Bryan, I could hear his voice in their dialogue.

In Siding Star Science Fiction meets deep Christian Faith in a way that caught me by surprise from both angles. Chris does a great job identifying the troubled spirit that so easily infects the world, and the promise of hope we all yearn for in our lives.

I cannot wait for Peacekeeper to hit the shelves. I shall be among the first in line to pick it up!
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By Kris R. on January 19, 2013
Format: Paperback
A very fun thriller, about the rise of a dark evil, and the ordinary people who come against it. Part Dan Brown, part CS Lewis, and very well written.The characters are all very real, and likable (well, at least the 'good guys' are). None is made out to have some kind of extraordinary skill or power, which I enjoyed. I also liked the fact that they were ADULTS. No teen angst here. Just real people who react in real ways. The story moves along at a clipping pace - I definitely didn't want to put it down! I do hope the sequel comes out soon - though the ending of the book wraps things up nicely and doesn't scream "SEQUEL", which is always refreshing. ;) I also loved the portrayal of animals - the author must be a pet-lover!
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By MaryAnn on February 19, 2013
Format: Paperback
The characters were very well developed. And the storyline so vivid and surreal, it made you feel as though you were there. I especially loved how the story unfolded gradually, making me want to guess what would happen next but rarely getting it right. It made me want to read more as I turned each page. There was absolutely nothing predictable about this story. That is what I loved the most about this book. I think I literally gasped several times while reading.

I am so glad that I decided to read the book. And if you want to experience a very different type of book and you want every element of every genre, then this book is definitely one for you to read. You won't be sorry. I look forward to reading more Christopher Bryan and I have to thank him for introducing me to his work.

I was given this book from GoodReads.
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Bryan writes very much in the style of C. S. Lewis. Siding Star brought back memories of Lewis' science fiction trilogy. This is a fast read that will hold your attention and push you through to the final chapter. Bryan personifies virtue and vice in his characters and holds up the heroic in the context of modern science and theology. I highly recommend this refreshing adventure yarn.
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Wonderful mystery laced with insight, theology and imagination. The characters and setting are charming and interesting. The writing is terrific, not a wasted word. I can't wait for the sequel. Great reading and recreation.
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This book was chosen for a monthly bookclub reading by my priest who actually knows Christopher Bryan from the University of the South. She felt it would be a great book for discussion at our meeting. She was totally correct!

I received the book on a Friday and by Sunday afternoon I had read it from cover to cover! Christopher Bryan is a wonderful storyteller but more than that, he weaves into the fabric of his story deep and thoughtful questions regarding a person's faith walk. Profound, intriguing and enthralling - you will enjoy this book so much! It was like Dan Brown meets C.S. Lewis.

Read it!!
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An astronomer discovers a supernova. A detective investigates a murder. A conspiracy grasps for control. Their stories collide in Christopher Bryan’s supernatural thriller, Siding Star. It is the first in a series of three novels (so far) featuring Detective Inspector Cecilia Cavaliere of the Devon and Cornwall Constabulary. It is written self-consciously in the vein of Charles Williams’ novels and C. S. Lewis’s space trilogy. If you like those novels, you’ll like this one, though—as with any supernatural thriller—a willing suspension of disbelief is key to enjoying it. Will love or power win? Read Siding Star and find out.
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Format: Kindle Edition
I won this book in a giveaway on another website a few months back but hadn't gotten to it until now. To be honest, I'm not entirely sure what to think of it. It feels a bit like two different books at times. One book that could have ended about halfway through, and then another book that took elements of the story and kept them going. At times I felt like the writing was a little bogged down by an abundance of details, but it didn't happen so often that I was overly bothered about it. For the most part the story moved along at a good pace and had heroes you could get behind. It reminds me ever so slightly of Dan Brown, similar in style but the pacing is nowhere near as rapid as Mr. Brown's. Overall I liked the book and might consider picking up the sequel if I come across it.
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