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The Betrayal: A Novel on John Calvin Paperback – June 1, 2009

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 383 pages
  • Publisher: P & R Publishing (June 1, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1596381256
  • ISBN-13: 978-1596381254
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.4 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #785,302 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"Anything Doug Bond writes is, almost now by definition, a fascinating read. But to have his skills attached to the life of John Calvin is a double treat." --Joel Belz, founder, WORLD magazine

"If you enjoy reading the fictional works of C. S. Lewis, you will love this book." --Burk Parsons, editor, Tabletalk magazine

"An exciting read, almost effortlessly and implicitly undoing caricatures about Calvin along the way . . . Calvin and his times brought to life in a page-turner!" --Joel R. Beeke, president, Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary

More About the Author

Douglas Bond, author of more than a dozen books, lives with his wife and six children in Washington State. He is a ruling elder in the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA), has a master's degree from Saint Martin's University, teaches English and history at Covenant High School, and was awarded the regional Teacher Award for teaching young people how to write. He lectures on literature and Church history and leads study tours in Europe.

Bond first started writing books when his own children begged him not to read to them but to tell them original stories. He haltingly launched in. They wanted more. Some of those original stories came in installments and lasted for weeks. Then one night in 1999 he couldn't sleep. Ideas began pouring in for the Mr. Pipes books on hymnody. He sat up in the dark, so not to disturb his intensely patient wife, and scribbled out the opening episodes, mapping out the first book before morning. And then he began writing furiously.

And continues to do so. His fourteenth book, Guns of Providence will release in June, 2010, with more on the way. His best-selling book, The Betrayal, has been published by Den Hertog in Dutch. P&R Publishing and now Reformation Trust (Ligonier Ministries), are his primary publishers, with forthcoming books on John Knox and the Scottish Reformation, a childrens picture book in verse on the book of Job, an Anglo-Saxon historical fiction novel, and another volume to the Fathers & Sons series, likely to be entitled, HELD FAST By Christ Alone. And other ideas.

He also has written articles for MODERN REFORMATION magazine and other publications. If you'd like to follow his web site and blog go to and

One critic has written that "Douglas Bond is a rising star in the historical fiction genre for older and younger readers." Christian Book Previews

Happy reading!

Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
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See all 17 customer reviews
The author's research is evident throughout the novel.
Mr. Bond does a great job of incorporating Calvin's writings and personal letters into the story to keep the timeline flowing and the plot moving along.
I appreciated how everything is shown to be the working of God for good, even if it is evil in itself.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

24 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Tim Challies TOP 500 REVIEWER on June 23, 2009
Format: Paperback
I wonder what Calvin would have said, what he would have thought, if he could have peered five centuries into the future and seen how he would be honored on the five hundredth anniversary of his birth. Several new biographies; a long list of conferences; books discussing every aspect, every facet of his theology; a bobblehead; and now The Betrayal, a novel that recounts his life as historical fiction.

The Betrayal, published by P&R Publishing, comes from the pen of Douglas Bond who has written several historical fiction novels in the past. In this new book, he writes from the perspective of a lifelong sworn enemy of Calvin--a boy who grows up in the same town and who, as a man, remains involved with Calvin's life to the very end. As the publisher says, "This fast-paced biographical novel is a tale of envy that escalates to violent intrigue and shameless betrayal." I hesitate to say too much about the plot lest I inadvertently ruin it for those who would like to read the book. Perhaps there is value, then, in simply sharing a few of the endorsements for it.

Burk Parsons, editor of John Calvin: A Heart for Devotion, Doctrine, Doxology says, "With masterful insight, Douglas Bond offers us an illuminating portrait of the life, ministry, and theology of John Calvin. For readers of all ages, this well-researched, historical fiction takes us back to the sixteenth-century Reformation as if we were eye-witnesses of all that God accomplished in and through the life of His humble servant John Calvin. If you enjoy reading the fictional works of C. S. Lewis, you will love this book.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By N. Brooks on March 30, 2010
Format: Paperback
Released last year for the 500th anniversary of John Calvin's birth, Douglas Bond has written The Betrayal as a sort of novelized version of an introduction to Calvin. The story is not told through Calvin's eyes, but rather through the fictional character Jean-Louise, Calvin's personal servant. What makes the plot interesting is that Jean-Louise secretly works for the Crown, denouncing those fledgling Protestants who come and meet with Calvin. Many go to the stake through Jean-Louise's efforts, leaving him rejoicing and Calvin mourning as Calvin's friends are consumed.

In a lot of ways, this book doesn't know if it wants to be a novel or a theology manual. Bond undertook a difficult task in trying to novelize Calvin's life, as he is a man remembered not primarily remembered for some heroic deed, but rather for what he said and thought. Unlike figures such as Churchill, Washington or Patton who are remembered as great statesmen or military generals, Calvin's main impact on history was through his Institutes of the Christian Religion.

As a theology book, The Betrayal does serve to give the reader a broad overview of the issues surrounding the Reformation. The first half of the book spends a great deal of time illuminating the spiritual darkness and corruption that gripped the Roman Catholic Church. Bond chooses three doctrinal distinctives of the reformation (the sufficiency of Scripture, the sacraments, and predestination/free-will) and deeply explores Calvin's thoughts of the matter. Most of the words spoken by Calvin in the novel are drawn from his writing in the Institutes.

As a novel, this book is difficult to adjust to stylistically.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on November 10, 2009
Format: Paperback
Even though it is historical fiction, Calvin's great love for Christ comes through poignantly in his writings that are condensed and interspersed throughout the novel. I found myself pausing to look up scriptural references and then pondering the different viewpoints interpreted from those scriptures. A great read with a sobering insight into the Reformation.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By P. Creeden on August 20, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition
Okay, I'm a sucker for a good cover, and this book has a great one. It intrigued me from the start. When I found out that it would be a historical fiction of the life of John Calvin, I had to pick up this book.

The writing in this book is a strange mixture of Les Miserable and Frankenstein. And much like those two books, it's hard to get involved with the characters until you are thoroughly soaked in the action of the story rather than the characters themselves.

I am not a historical fiction fan. I am a character-driven novel fan. It's the characters that I care about: not the plot or even the events. This is an event driven novel. One that centers around the places and actions, rather than the characters themselves. Consequently, I was dragging though the boring details that were trying to set the scene, while the characters remained flat and lifeless. I did not care about them, so I could hardly care about what happened to them.

What I liked: The author did an beautiful job of transcribing and detailing the words of Calvin, himself, and making his genius shine through.

What I didn't like: too much boring detail with scene setting, and at times the novel was jarring in its pov switches.

Overall, It is a pretty good novel, but I still don't know that I would describe it as fast-paced or gripping. I recieved a copy of this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
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