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The Begotten (The Gifted Series, Book 1) Paperback – September 4, 2007
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From Publishers Weekly
Bergren's experience as a Christian historical fiction author (God Gave Us You) serves her well in this religious thriller, the first of a trilogy set in 14th-century Italy. Fragments of a mysterious long-lost letter written by Saint Paul are surfacing that speak of a group known as the Gifted, who will gather to fight the powers of encroaching darkness. With the Inquisition in full swing, Satan has sent his minion, the Sorcerer, to take over the world. Father Piero, a Dominican priest, has found the first of the Gifted, Lady Daria D'Angelo, who can bring the dead back to life. Daria uses her gift on the dying knight Gianni de Capezzana, who swears fealty to Daria and joins her in Siena, where the group gains strength and numbers. Soon, the Gifted and the forces of the underworld are locked in mortal combat. CBA readers will find much to cheer, but others will also enjoy this classic battle between good and evil. Disregard Da Vinci Code comparisons and think Lord of the Rings, but without Hobbits and the allegorical trappings. (Aug.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
*Starred Review* Bergren's thriller is set in Italy during the paranoid days of the Inquisition, when Christianity teeters on the edge of oblivion. A long-lost letter from St. Paul surfaces, predicting the rise of a group called the Gifted. Father Piero, a Dominican priest, finds the first of these, a proto-feminist with healing powers, Lady Daria D'Angelo. A knight whom she heals, Gianni de Capezzan, and a mute ex-slave, Hasani, round out the core members, who rapidly gain followers even as they flee the Sorcerer, the fearsome, magical emissary of Satan. Suspenseful and exquisitely detailed, Bergren's first entry in a trilogy will not only thrill evangelical readers but also engage anyone loving adventure and an unnerving battle between good and evil. John Mort
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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This book represents a growing subgenre of Christian speculative fiction - the religious thriller. Christian romance and historical fiction are established subgenres. However, "religious thriller" sounds like an oxymoron. The Publisher's Weekly review left me scratching my head in confusion. "CBA readers will find much to cheer, but others will also enjoy this classic battle between good and evil. Disregard Da Vinci Code comparisons and think Lord of the Rings, but without Hobbits and the allegorical trappings."
CBA encourages the publication of upliftingly enjoyable novels such as Christy by Catherine Marshall. Stretching the CBA's boundaries beyond The Chronicles of Narnia seems difficult. I often wonder if The Lord of the Rings had been published now whether it would have been embraced by CBA given the backlash against the Harry Potter books and their ilk. Besides, what is the LOTR without Hobbits and the allegorical trappings?
The story is set in 14th century Sienna, a city-state that will become part of the modern nation of Italy. A prophetic book, purportedly written by the Apostle Paul, describes the coming battle between good and evil, "not against flesh and blood, but against rulers, against powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places." - Ephesians 6:12.
The powers of darkness work through men moved by greed, lust, sorceries, and death. The Gifted work through powers bestowed by God--wisdom, healing, faith, visions, discernment, miracles, and prophecy.
Before others of the Gifted can gather, the power of darkness strikes like a hammer to destroy them. Can mere men and women stand against such power?
Ms Bergren recreates the world of 14th century Sienna with a deft touch, bringing alive a culture that is completely foreign to our own.
With trembling hands, the old woman set down the box upon the table
and opened the lid. Spectacles! Gianni had only seen two pair of the
new contraptions--once in Venezia, the second in Roma. They were
frightfully expensive, an extravagance of the wealthy. And the lady
bestowed them upon a servant?
Though I would not claim an extensive knowledge of church or renaissance European history, Ms. Bergren fills her story with historical references with just the right amount of explanation that give her story breadth and scope, such as the removal of the papacy to Avignon in France.
The pace and tension of the story rise page by page, impelling the reader forward chapter by chapter to the rich, satisfying conclusion. Tom Clancy and Michael Crichton could do no better.
Ms. Bergren's storytelling demonstrates the blossoming of a genre that will appeal to people of diverse faith cultures--the religious thriller. I am looking forward to reading the other books in the Gifted series.
If you are merely seeking a thrilling read, congratulations you have it, however if you're open to the realm of God's greatest promises you'll be blessed with a richness that far exceeds a good read.
The Begotten is book one of a trilogy I read all three books in one week and pray that the series is made into a movie.
An awesome story with awesome characters who all have awesome faith!