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Book Review: 'The Book of Malchus'

Published: Saturday, Feb. 12 2011 7:00 a.m. MST

"The Book of Malchus" is a masterful piece of historical fiction. Like the characters in the book, Neil K. Newell and William J. Hamblin take the readers on a fascinating voyage — one that includes adventure, danger, faith and sacrifice.

Taking place in Rome in the years A.D. 410, "The Book of Malchus" begins by introducing the reader to the character of Lucius, a renowned Roman philosopher and rhetorician. A once fervent believer in the pagan gods, Lucius begins to question his faith when an army of barbarians invades Rome.

Lucius physically shows his frustration by destroying the once beloved statues of the gods that were in his courtyard. He wonders if the gods are merely a hoax. He regrets his many years of undying devotion to what he thinks are mere figments of his imagination.

At his time of greatest need, Lucius seemingly gets an answer to his questions. He discovers a record written by an ancestor named Malchus. A merchant explorer, Malchus traveled the high seas, experiencing adventure and romance. He eventually arrived in a foreign land that was home to a tribe of people with strange and barbaric ways. Malchus lived among the people and learned their ways.

Malchus also writes of an encounter with a man from Galilee named Jesus Christ. Interestingly enough, this account of Christ allows Lucius to see the flaws in his pagan faith and allows him to ponder the workings of Christianity.

At first, "The Book of Malchus" seems like a captivating pirate's tale. It tells of a man who narrowly avoids death on a regular basis. Nonetheless, the authors are able to weave a story of faith and devotion into an action-packed story.

Events from The Book of Mormon are told throughout the story, specifically those involving Jesus Christ’s coming to the Americas. In that regard, it is a faith-building book. It promotes an understanding of the new world and the role the Savior played during that time.

The book also allows readers to appreciate the heart-wrenching journey one has to take to discover the truth. It also shows that peace can be found. 

"The Book of Malchus" has a unique storyline. At the end of the book, you will find yourself wishing for a sequel.

Shelby Scoffield is a graduate student at Stanislaus State University in California.

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