Stronger than the sword
EP Books, 188 pages, £8.99, ISBN: 978-0-85234-787
As I am familiar with Faith Cook and her excellent books, it was with a great sense of anticipation that I began reading her novel Stronger than the sword.
The novel is set during the time of the English Civil War, a time when Christians were forced to worship only in ways allowed by the State, and face severe punishment if found doing otherwise. Through the lives of a small family, we see events unfold in ways a history book couldn’t convey.
I thoroughly enjoyed reading Stronger than the Sword. It is a well-written story which draws in the reader and brings a newfound respect for those who fought for the Christian freedom we enjoy now.
The characters are wonderfully drawn, and I soon found myself caring for them and their plight. However, as I read, I felt torn between two genres: the photographs and descriptions of real people and events gave the feel of a biography, but the flow of the fictitious elements felt partially constrained by the facts.
This surely is a challenge faced by all who write historical novels, and one that is to some degree insurmountable. I think Faith Cook struck the best balance possible between history and fiction.
The only thing I found disappointing was the length of the book — it was too short for my liking! The story moved along at a tremendous pace, covering many years in the space of a chapter at times. I enjoyed the book so much, I would have been happy to take time to get to know more about the characters and see their lives unfold at a steadier pace.
I thoroughly recommend this book, particularly to those with an interest in history.