Early this year a reader sent me a copy of his novel, “The Third Testament,” and asked me to review it. I devoured the book in a matter of days and want to strongly recommend it to our readers.
John Eklund’s tale is about a widower named Fred Smith, a professor at a small Catholic college who dreams that God has asked him to record the next testament of the Bible. The novel recounts his research on Church history since Christ, interspersing the story of a man in search of his destiny. If this sounds like a dry topic, it is anything but. The book is intriguing and inspiring and yes, had me laughing and crying by the end.
I could quibble with Mr. Smith’s assessment of what moments in modern history are divinely inspired. For example, he gushes on about President Reagan without a word about Martin Luther King Jr. and the transformative civil rights movement. But this is, after all, a novel and the narrator a fictional character. But by the end, John Eklund the writer had me so convinced it was HIS story just superficially fictionalized that I was worrying about his widowhood, the cancer his daughter struggles with and so on.
We Catholics might know our catechism, but few of us, including me, learned much about the miracles and mysteries of Church history as children. This book is a gift that gives us a wonderful way to start.