Thursday, November 29, 2007

Review: Glastonbury Tor

Glastonbury Tor
By LeAnne Hardy
Kregel, 2006.

From the Publisher

In this captivating novel centered around Glastonbury Tor, a young man seeks salvation as the Catholic Church finds itself in turmoil during the reign of Henry VIII. Reputed to be King Arthur’s resting place, Glastonbury Abbey is steeped in legend. For 16-year-old Colin it’s a refuge after fleeing from his abusive father. But with Henry VIII threatening to seize the abbey and hatred imprisoning his heart, Colin is held captive—body and soul. Will he ever accept God’s liberating grace and forgive his father?

Historical Facts

The setting is during the reign of Henry VIII, when his government is systematically destroying monasteries throughout England and taking their land and possessions for the royal treasury. The central character is 17-year-old Colin, escaping a violent home life to live at the monastery in Glastonbury, one of the holiest sites of British Christendom. Legend has it that the Holy Grail is at this monastery.

At the same time Henry VIII is breaking from Rome, the Bible has been translated into English and there is an underground, forbidden religious movement by those who are reading the Bible and determining their own faith. They are persecuted by Henry’s forces just as those who are holding on to the old church connected to the Pope are persecuted. Colin is caught in this web.

Some of the monks at Glastonbury who are sheltering Colin are loving and trustworthy; others are power-hungry and unreliable. Colin is able to read and keep accounts, so he is allowed to travel about overseeing the various properties owned by the monastery. He meets a family who are reading the forbidden Bible at home and with their neighbors—their lives are in danger if their secret is revealed—and he is attracted to their lovely daughter. When soldiers come to the monastery to take possession of it, even the Holy Grail itself plays a part in this story.

My Review

Glastonbury Tor contains a lot of actual historical events and people. During the High Middle Ages and the reign of King Henry the VIII, corruption was rampant. Poor Colin leaves one abusive home and enters another when he seeks refuge in the Glastonbury Abby, though some of monks were kind toward him. He matured quite a bit during the year within which this novel occurs. Colin faced unspeakable evil, experienced situation straight from legends in Britain and of the ancient druids, and came in contact with relics alleged to have ties to Christ.

Some of the events that occur in this book are obviously fictional as Christ does not inhabit a cup—the Holy Grail—despite legend. And Colin had visions that no one else could see. Nevertheless I found the story quite entertaining despite the lack of romance in the book. It’s more of a coming of age novel about a teen boy who must overcome obstacles and confront evil as he learns about true faith.

Michelle Sutton (pen name)
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2 comments:

Cindy Thomson said...

Thanks for the review, Michelle. I don't need romance in my novels, so this sounds like a book I would like.

Beth Goddard said...

Great review, Michelle!
Beth