Quo Vadis captures Biblical times in vivid detail and writing, far surpassing every other biblical novel I have yet read. Better still, this novel walks a fine line almost perfectly: between remaining accurate to Peter and Paul as they really lived, while still fitting them into the story in a way that seems natural.
Nero reigns in the greatest city on earth as you open the front cover. Soon, you meet Petronius and his nephew Vinicius: waealthy Roman patricians who are fully immersed in the pleasures Rome has to offer. Until Vinicius meets a young Roman hostage from Lygia. Soon, his life is thrown into a tangle as he finds himself dealing with a group of child murderers and rebels. Or so he’s been told: are all the “facts” about Christians really true?
This book starts slowly, and the omniscient POV put me off a little, but Quo Vadis is a little bit like buried treasure: there’s some work involved in the final reward. And those detractors aside, the book is still very well-written. Description is adequate and carefully placed, and the dialogue is delightfully natural; especially considering that this is a translation from the original Polish.
This book has good characters, but they illuminate the story and plot more so than they stand alone. A few characters exceptionally stand out, however. Child Chilonides, the mercenary philosopher, is one of the best-written grey characters I’ve ever read: you literally do not know which side he is on. Petronius, Vinicius’ uncle, sees reason, but is too enmeshed in his life of pleasure and uncertainty to embrace Christianity. Suffice to say, the characters are all very well-developed and well-written, with a few exceptional characters besides.
Most refreshing in this book is the excellent theology. There were a couple of quotes that made me vaguely uncomfortable, but overall the picture painted of salvation, Jesus Christ, and theology in general is very sound.
Quo Vadis is an excellent Biblical novel, perhaps the best I’ve read, that is unfortunately unknown because of its original language: Polish. But despite its obscurity, it’s an excellent novel that definitely deserves a read if you’re looking for high-quality Christian biblical fiction.
Published on 15 May, 2012. Last updated on