Wednesday, October 5, 2011

The Priest's Graveyard

The novel The Priest's Graveyard by Ted Dekker opens by looking through two wonderfully detailed and well written windows. One depicts a Bosnian family caught in the middle of an ethnic civil war. A young boy watches his mother and sisters brutally raped and murdered while he struggles helplessly against his oppressors. He focusses on revenge and joins a local militia to deliver his righteous justice. Desperate to escape from the harsh shadows of this world, he comes to America and becomes a priest. Through the other we see a young girl rejected by her parents, turn to a drug-fueled life on the streets. Strung out, lost, and confused, she tries to flee her pusher after years of abuse. At her nadir, she is rescued by what seems to be an angel, who takes her away from her world.

The priest, Danny Hansen, has a deep passion for his calling and has given his life to loving those in his community. But those who prey on the weak must be brought to justice, although his notion of who is responsible for meting out this justice is warped by the experiences of his teenage years. The woman, Renee Gilmore, is weened off her heroine addiction and nursed back to health by her rescuer. However, her benefactor is not the white knight that her addled mind has made him out to be. When Renee's keeper mysteriously disappears, she is quickly thrust into a world that she is ill-prepared to understand. Yet she must cope if she is to survive, if she is to find the truth. It is then that Renee meets Father Hansen. This novel features an intriguing plot twist as the worlds of the priest and the wayward girl collide and rebound against each other. A key moment in the narrative is when Father Hansen has a chance meeting with a visiting nun who asks a question that gives him insight and clarity into his theology and his world view regarding the notions of justice and judgment. This novel features some extremely well written scenes and represents a solid, but not outstanding work. Some uneven character development and a somewhat banal ending, but still an enjoyable and thought provoking work.