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Book Title: The Kingdom of the Wicked|
The author of the book: Anthony Burgess
Date of issue: January 1st 1985
ISBN 13: 9780877957539
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 370 KB
Edition: William Morrow & Company
Read full description of the books The Kingdom of the Wicked:The novel covers about 40 years from the resurrection of Jesus Christ to the destruction of Pompeji, recounting the spread of the Christian faith against the backdrop of Roman Imperial history.
In a novel with this scope, one can’t complain that most the characters are somewhat flat, with the notable exceptions of the apostle Paul, the emperor Nero and few others. Being somewhat familiar with the Acts of the Apostles, for me it was great being told this story by a different voice, with some of the religious and historical background that is not always provided in the original account. It’s done brilliantly, the facts never weigh down the story. Also, the appalling cruelty and sometimes madness of the early Roman emperors is well shown, with the right amount of detail, though the “Roman” part of the story sometimes felt a bit sketchy.
However, there were some issues I had with this novel. It is clearly the account of a sceptic, and though I did appreciate the author’s staying clear of pathos and sugar-coating, a few things were lost as a result. There’s quite a lot of conversion to, and also defection from, Christianity, but it just happened, no inner development of the persons, no plausibility. It might just as well have been the other way round. For all the erudition of the author, I found it strange that part of Paul’s message in this book was the popular misconception that if you live a good life, you will go to heaven when you die, whereas the evildoers are destined for the fires of hell. In fact, if you read Paul’s letters in the New Testament, the essence of his doctrine is sola fide and sola gratia, meaning that good works alone won’t do, but the way to forgiveness is always open.
And ultimately, the Christian faith appeared to be somewhat anaemic and very weak, all but collapsing under the first persecutions. If that had been so, I think Christianity wouldn’t have outlived the Roman Empire.
Read information about the authorLibrarian Note: There is more than one author in the Goodreads database with this name.
Anthony Burgess was a British novelist, critic and composer. He was also a librettist, poet, playwright, screenwriter, essayist, travel writer, broadcaster, translator, linguist and educationalist. Born in Manchester, he lived for long periods in Southeast Asia, the USA and Mediterranean Europe as well as in England. His fiction includes the Malayan trilogy (The Long Day Wanes) on the dying days of Britain's empire in the East; the Enderby quartet of novels about a poet and his muse; Nothing Like the Sun, a recreation of Shakespeare's love-life; A Clockwork Orange, an exploration of the nature of evil; and Earthly Powers, a panoramic saga of the 20th century. He published studies of Joyce, Hemingway, Shakespeare and Lawrence, produced the treatises on linguistics Language Made Plain and A Mouthful of Air, and was a prolific journalist, writing in several languages. He translated and adapted Cyrano de Bergerac, Oedipus the King, and Carmen for the stage; scripted Jesus of Nazareth and Moses the Lawgiver for the screen; invented the prehistoric language spoken in Quest for Fire; and composed the Sinfoni Melayu, the Symphony (No. 3) in C, and the opera Blooms of Dublin.
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