Thursday, March 6, 2014

The Thunder: A novel on John Knox

by Douglas Bond
P&R Publishing, 2012, 400 pages

John Knox turns five hundred this year and I can't think of a better way to mark the occasion than to read Douglas Bond's biographical novel of the man. All I knew of Knox before reading this was that he was supposed to be the Scottish John Calvin. But after The Thunder I think a better comparison might be some combination of action hero and Scottish Elijah.

His first notable foray as a Reformer was as a bodyguard, wielding a two-handed sword in protection of a preacher. He was then ordained himself, and shortly thereafter imprisoned and sent to a French galley to row for almost two years. And when finally freed, though the trial left a permanent impact on his health, Knox then made a habit of speaking Truth to power, chastising the regent of England, encouraging the child King, Edward VI, and then admonishing Mary, Queen of Scots as well as her mother, the Dowager Queen Mary of Guise. This was a guy, weak though he was in body, who would not back down!

So that's the man, but what about the novel? Douglas Bond does a smashing job, telling the tale from the perspective of one of Knox's students. This device allows Bond to tell one near unbelievable tale after another about his principle figure, but make it all believable by having the young student also marvel at the spiritual might of this Reformation giant.

This is a great novel for anyone who likes history, older teens through adults, and simply an amazing tale told exceptionally well. It is available at

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