Posted by: Fr. C. | July 13, 2011

Some Fun Summer Reading

Those who variously enjoy mysteries, Arthurian legend, the works of the Inklings, and historical pieces will want to include Looking for the King. It is 1940, and the Second World War has just begun.  American Tom McCord, a 23-year-old aspiring doctoral candidate, is in England researching the historical evidence for the legendary King Arthur. There he meets Laura Hartman, a fellow American staying with her aunt in Oxford, and the two of them team up for an even more ambitious and dangerous quest.

Aided by the Inklings-that illustrious circle of scholars and writers made famous by its two most prolific members, C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien, as well as the lesser-read Charles Williams-Tom and Laura begin to suspect that the fabled Spear of Destiny, the lance that pierced the side of Christ on the cross, is hidden somewhere in England.

Tom discovers that Laura has been having mysterious dreams, which seem to be related to the subject of his research, and, though doubtful of her visions, he hires her as an assistant. Heeding the insights and advice of the Inklings, while becoming aware of being shadowed by powerful and secretive foes who would claim the spear as their own, Tom and Laura end up on a thrilling treasure hunt that crisscrosses the English countryside and leads beyond a search for the elusive relics of Camelot into the depths of the human heart and soul. Weaving his fast-paced narrative with conversation based on the works of the Inklings, author David Downing offers a vivid portrait of Oxford and draws a welcome glimpse into the personalities and ideas of Lewis and Tolkien, while never losing sight of his action-packed adventure story and its two very appealing main characters.

You will feel that you actually have met Lewis, Tolkien and Williams and shared a story with them.  There are themes of chivalry and faith inter-woven into the tale, and the level of dialogue and narrative are well-above that of the mass market pot boiler.  You also won’t have to worry about offensive language, vivid sexual imagery or anyone wielding a chainsaw.  It is a good bet for the beach, poolside or an armchair in air-conditioned comfort.   A word of warning, though.  Once you start this book you won’t want to put it down until the finale!


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