Book review: The Prisoner of Zenda and Rupert of Hentzau by Anthony Hope

Having responded to a question on social media about favourite literary villains that mine was Rupert of Hentzau, I happened to find a second hand copy of these two books. The Prisoner of Zenda is subtitled ‘Being the History of Three Months in the Life of an English Gentleman‘. Rupert of Hentzau is simply tagged ‘Being the Sequel’. They were first published in 1894 and 1898 respectively.

Photo of the book with crossed swords between the two titles.
Reader’s Digest edition of The Prisoner of Zenda and Rupert of Hetzau

I had read them as a youngster, meeting an anti-hero for the first time.  Meanwhile I had almost completely forgotten the stories, but found reading them as an adult a far less exciting experience. The language is dated, although the writing is very good. I noticed the assumption running through the books that the majority of characters were well-versed with Christian values and considered the morality of their decisions and resultant actions.

Set in a fictional European country (Ruritania) the stories are exciting at times and have some love interest. There are issues around loyalty, conspiracy and skulduggery. It would be a shame if these books were regarded as too old-fashioned to be of interest to a modern readership. They reflect the changes in people’s attitudes over time.


Book Review The Captive’s Crown by Olusola Sophia Anyanwu

The Captive’s Crown: A story of inclusion, diversity and redemption by Olusola Sophia Anyanwu is biblical fiction. It contains some adult content.

The main protagonist is the woman who washed Jesus feet with her tears and dried them with her hair. There are many other characters (most of them fictional) from the time of Jesus’ ministry on earth. The story is told imaginatively in Sophia’s unique style.

Sophia (who is a member of the Association of Christian Writers as I am) asked me to read and review this book. She hoped it would be a blessing to me. It contains many quotations from the Bible and some interludes where we are given a glimpse of the activity of God and the angels in heaven. These are indeed a blessing. The story is gripping, with many lives changed through encounters with Jesus and his followers.

The Captive’s Crown is available from Amazon in paperback and Kindle editions.


Two books I read during Lent

A friend gave me a copy of An Ocean of Grace by Tim Chester. This is a Lent book organised with an introduction followed by one reading for each day from Ash Wednesday to Easter Sunday. The subtitle is ‘A Journey to Easter with Great Voices from the Past’.

The readings have been collected and edited by Tim Chester, who provides an introduction to each. The theme is God’s great love for us. The readings are full of praise and the original writers’ understanding of what God has done for us. They included the work of many writers new to me and some I had heard of but not read before.

As I wasn’t well during Lent I only read through each day’s reading once. I hope to use this book again next year and spend more time on it.

Photo of the two books reviewed in this post

The other book I read had been on my TBR pile for some time. I bought Hallowed be Thy Names: The revelation of God through His names by David Wilkerson in the local Christian bookshop. The title attracted me. Perhaps I should have read it before writing my series of posts for the A to Z Challenge in 2015! I was interested to learn about some Hebrew names.

Hallowed be thy Names is one of a series of Christian classics from Rickfords Hill Publishing (RHP) available at the price of £1.00.

David Wilkerson’s purpose in writing the book was to share the names of God, which had been most help to him during difficult times. The book does not claim to be exhaustive in the names explained, but takes us through the Bible concentrating on people’s encounters with God. The aim is to help readers to gain heart knowledge of God. I found it very interesting and helpful, reading a chapter at a time as the author suggested.

I have begun to read it for a second time and intend to look up all the Bible references this time.