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Book Reviews (Adult)

The Donation of Constantine by Simon LeVay

LeVay s book is a historical novel set in 8th-century Italy. The decaying city of Rome lies defenseless against the warmongering Lombards. The new Pope, Stephen II, appeals for help from the Eastern Emperor, but none arrives. In desperation, the Pope's younger brother and an English nun conspire to change the course of history at the risk of their own souls. Based on real people and actual events, this is a story of intrigue, passion, war, and the struggle for control of
medieval Europe. But more than anything it is an inquiry into the role of religion in political life.

LeVay presents an intriguing view of the clash between social necessity and individual faith that successfully evokes a world with concerns familiar to modern-day readers. The complexity of the novel s issues provides room for reflection on the perversion of fact and dogma in the face of necessity. (Publishers Weekly)

LeVay invests all of this with great energy and historical precision, and the result is a fascinating novel of religion s very real-world wheelings and dealings. (Historical Novel Society)

Rome is the multicultural stage of the world, and the author a perfect puppet master.

"LeVay's novel raises fascinating spiritual and ethical issues that are as contemporary as those being raised by the words and actions of Pope Francis. (Rev. Mel White, author of Stranger at the Gate)

Reviewed by a member of Corofin Library

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