Beginning in 1996 with Father Elijah, Michael O'Brien—a devout Roman Catholic; a Canadian; a painter and writer—has been publishing a series of novels with the collective title, Children of the Last Days. Father Elijah is the story of Elijah Schafer, a Roman Catholic priest, a convert from secular Judaism, chosen by the power of the Holy Spirit to bring one last witness of God's mercy to the Antichrist himself. Set in the end of days, it finished with Elijah heading towards his prophesied martyrdom.
Due not only to the gravity of its themes but to its spirited writing, it was a tough book to follow with not just one but five others (O'Brien had projected both the number and subject of each of the novels from the beginning). O'Brien has been, in many ways, learning on the job. From the beginning he has been superb at forming full and powerful characters, with rich interior lives. And he has been simply unexcelled at writing about the importance of everyday life, unveiling for his readers the spiritual power of our simplest decisions and our casual commitments. O'Brien's focus on the spirituality of the everyday, not to mention his far superior writing, is what sets these books apart from dispensational novels like the Left Behind series—not to mention his very strongly held conservative Roman Catholicism, which is all-pervasive in his novels.
In A Cry of Stone, the fifth novel in the series, O'Brien has done his best work yet. This is a remarkable book, if for no other reason than for the wonderful and compelling character of its protagonist, Rose Wabos, an Ojibwa girl who grows into a solemn, winsome young woman in the course of the novel.
Born with a curved spine, abandoned by a mother she never knows, Rose is raised by her ...1
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