Friday, November 25, 2011

The Fisher of Men and The Rock

© Pan Books Ltd
Christmas is still a month away and I have made up my mind what books I am going to read leading up to my favourite season of the year. Obviously, the two novels I have selected reflect the spirit of Christmas—The Big Fisherman by Lloyd C. Douglas (of The Robe fame) and Upon This Rock by Frank G. Slaughter (who wrote The Thorn of Arimathea).

As the titles suggest, the books tell the story of Christ’s life and teachings through Simon Peter, his foremost disciple and leader of the Apostles. He was the man to whom Christ spoke the twelve famous words that changed history—“Thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church.”

The Big Fisherman, which is set before The Robe, and Upon This Rock together recreate the life and time of Simon Peter in an age that saw faith and forgiveness on one hand and tyranny and brutality on the other. 

© Pocket Books
I have read a few books by Douglas and Slaughter and each time I have been impressed by the depth, research, and scholarship that has gone into their biblical novels. I have marvelled at the imaginative and lucid prose as well as the superb plot and characterisation. The stories, as far as I can remember since I read the books a long time ago, are truly inspiring. There are few parallels in religious fiction.

Postscript: While I haven’t seen The Big Fisherman (1959) starring Howard Keel as Simon Peter, I have seen The Robe (1953) with Richard Burton as the unforgettable Marcellus Gallio and Michael Rennie (The Day The Earth Stood Still) as the Apostle.


  1. I might like the Big Fisherman. I liked the Robe. I don't typically read seasonal books, though, except for halloween.

  2. I liked THE ROBE too so much so I couldn't put it down when I read it years ago. Slaughter writes in the same vein as Lloyd C. Douglas. I want to read his THE MAGNIFICENT OBSESSION.

  3. I read THE ROBE, the only Douglas book I ever read. Like you, I couldn't put it down. But that was many, MANY years ago when I was going through a phase of reading 'religous' themed books. Don't know how I'd feel about them today.

    Another book along these lines you might like, Prashant, is DEAR AND GLORIOUS PHYSICIAN by Taylor Caldwell. A fictionalized account of the apostle Luke. I loved this book. Recently got my hands on a hardcover used copy and have been planning to re-read it.

    Oh my goodness, I haven't read any Slaughter in SO MANY YEARS...!
    Memories. :)

  4. I occasionally pick up religious fiction and read it over days and I enjoy reading them. These books tell you some much about a different era, a different period, that you are not unfamiliar with. The characters are fascinating, the stories imaginative.

    I have heard about Taylor Caldwell but never read any of his works. I will look out for DEAR AND GLORIOUS PHYSICIAN.

  5. When I began forgotten books, these were two of the writers I had in mind. I'd love to post a review of them.

  6. Douglas and Slaughter would be right on top of anyone's forgotten books list. I have a few more in mind. I'd like to read your reviews of these two authors.