A Greek artisan is commissioned to cast the cup of Christ in silver and sculpt around its rim the faces of the disciples and Jesus himself. He is struggling with his feeling and is torn between his adoring wife and a wily temptress. He travels to Jerusalem and eventually to Rome to complete the task. Meanwhile, a nefarious interloper is trying to convince the crowds that he is the new Messiah by using nothing more than cheap parlor tricks.
Inscribed: Erma M. Spray (grandmother)
Quickly, it becomes obvious that it is necessary to move Basil, as his greedy older brother seeks to harm him, if only he can discover his whereabouts. He is brought to stay with Joseph of Arimathea, a wealthy and devout follower of Christ, and the grandfather of the lovely and pious Deborah.
The characters that Basil confronts, those that care for him and those who are his enemies,are well-drawn, and form the basis of the book. Without the help of many, Basil would not accomplish his work and thus achieve his destiny. The nefarious characters that wish him ill are equally important in this book. Basil is constantly in a struggle with good and evil, light and dark.
I enjoyed this book immensely. Basil's journey from Antioch to Jerusalem is accomplished only with the help of many others. These characters are both well-developed and believable. Basil's struggle with the relationship that he develops with two beautiful young women (again portraying the struggle between good and evil)is both exciting and revealing. Basil is a young man with the desire to be righteous and at the same time kind. He can feel the tug of desire while himself desiring nothing more than to be recognized by the woman he truly loves.
After looking at some other reviews I realize that they there exists varying opinions on the novel. While I was engrossed in the story, it seems some readers found the writing amateurish and dull. I could not disagree more with that opinion. It is quite a long book,so some parts do tend to drag, but I find that in every book I read there is one if not several passages that could have been edited more closely. Those parts only left me looking forward to the more entertaining parts of the book. If you have ever read any of Taylor Caldwell's historical fiction, it is very similar, in that it takes a long distant past and makes it seem relevant. At the least, I would say to give the book a shot.The beginning dragged a bit, as did a few other parts, but not enough to make me abandon reading. The rest of the book was delightful enough to disregard a few slow passages.
A classic, still a good story and worthwhile reading, the novel is written in an old-fashioned manner and the passing of years have not been kind to it. Style has so changed. It was packed with tiny details, which while adding to the vividness of the narration, sometimes slowed down the action. There were anachronisms galore. I read it years ago in high school when it came out, and loved it then.
No date given
Originally published by Doubleday