Plot of The Silver Chalice must be taken on faith


I don’t like religious fiction much. Novels such as  The Silver Chalice are the reason why.

Thomas B. Costain’s  implausible tale has only minimal connection to the Bible and only slightly greater connection to psychological reality.

The richest man in Antioch adopts the fictional hero, Basil. When his foster father dies, the father’s younger brother contests the legality of Basil’s adoption and succeeds in having him disinherited and sold into slavery.

Joseph of Aramethia purchases Basil. Joseph wants to have a decorative frame made for the cup used by Christ and his disciples at the Last Supper. Basil is to make it.

Basil’s frame for the cup is to be a picture of the participants at the Last Supper. Researching his subjects, he travels the Bible lands, meeting the disciples, Paul, and even Emperor Nero.

Old Joseph has a wicked son in league with the Jewish leaders and a beautiful young Christian granddaughter. Basil antagonizes the son and captivates the granddaughter.

Before the book ends, Basil has won the fair Deborra, regained his inheritance, and become a Christian—and I have been alternately bored and nauseated.

This is a good book to let alone.

The Silver Chalice
Thomas B. Costain
Doubleday, 1952
553 pages
1952 Bestseller #1
My Grade: C-

Photo credit:  Communion 1 uploaded by 7205283929

© 2012 Linda Gorton Aragoni

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Linda G. Aragoni

I make big ideas simple for learners. In eight sentences, 34 words, I taught teens and adults to write competently. Now I'm writing guides to turn willing volunteers into great nursing home visitors.

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