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Siding Star Paperback – September 10, 2012
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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
More About the Author
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.
Top Customer Reviews
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!
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.
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Preachy, new-age added + stale hi-church do-goodism, Christian belief bashing, multicultural. Dogs are worthier of love and devotion than most people.Published 2 months ago by MountainBear
I was expecting a much more engrossing and rich story based on the reviews I had read. While Siding Star was entertaining, the whole time I was reading it, I felt the plot was too... Read morePublished 17 months ago by PDXbibliophile
This well crafted story will draw you in and keep you turning the pages. Characters are well developed and the plot twists and turns do not give themselves away. Read morePublished 24 months ago by Spirit Song Listener
Chris Bryan is a wonderful author. His books are well worth your time to read. Enjoy them and your life will be richer.Published on April 29, 2013 by Amazon Customer
This book has two story lines that don't intersect until you're well into the book. The ending is good, even moving. It just seems like the plot wasn't weaved together just right. Read morePublished on April 22, 2013 by C. Christensen
To be honest, a Christian novel is way outside my normal area of interest. The rave review on Kirkus got my attention and I don't regret having read it. Read morePublished on April 19, 2013 by Jeremy Colton
This excellent cosmic good vs. cosmic evil novel is also humane, thoughtful, and moving. The characters are very well drawn and developed, the dialogue clear and characteristic. Read morePublished on March 20, 2013 by Adam Dodd