The Betrayed (Gifted Series #2)

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Overview

First time in paperback-the second novel in the Gifted trilogy, 'an exhilarating religious historical thriller.'(Midwest Book Review)

In this epic trilogy in the tradition of In the Name of the Rose and The Lord of the Rings, an illuminated letter-long buried by the Church and prophesying a fellowship of men and women possessing powerful spiritual gifts-is the catalyst for a profound war that will bring either a new age of enlightenment or a darkness the world has not seen. As ...

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The Betrayed (Gifted Series #2)

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Overview

First time in paperback-the second novel in the Gifted trilogy, 'an exhilarating religious historical thriller.'(Midwest Book Review)

In this epic trilogy in the tradition of In the Name of the Rose and The Lord of the Rings, an illuminated letter-long buried by the Church and prophesying a fellowship of men and women possessing powerful spiritual gifts-is the catalyst for a profound war that will bring either a new age of enlightenment or a darkness the world has not seen. As the Gifted gather and gain strength, following God's clues, their enemies grow more intent on controlling them. Now, their extraordinary mission continues?

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Editorial Reviews

Midwest Book Review
Action-packed...superb...full of surprises.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780425223345
  • Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 9/2/2008
  • Series: Gifted Series, #2
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 464
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.20 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Lisa Tawn Bergren is the award-winning, bestselling author of Refuge, God Gave Us You, and The Captain's Bride. She is president and co-founder of Good Books & Company, which sells Christian books and gifts via home shows.

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Reading Group Guide

INTRODUCTION
The year is 1339, the height of the Inquisition. A secret half a millennium old is on the brink of being exposed. Centuries before, the Church compiled the letters written by St. Paul with other texts to form the foundation of the Christian canon. But what the world doesn't know is that Paul wrote another letter-a letter speaking of men and women who, though begotten of men, possess mysterious spiritual gifts. Now, the time has come for the Gifted to gather. The beautiful healer; the wise priest; the slave with the gift of prophecy; the knight with faith enough to leave the Church-as their talents grow more powerful, so do those who wish to destroy them. Now, they must race against time to find the rest of the Gifted ones, and to decipher the prophecy that foretold of their coming. For only by combining their powers will they vanquish those determined to destroy them, and uncover the secret of the letter that will determine the fate of the Church...and the world.

ABOUT LISA T. BERGREN

Lisa Tawn Bergren is the award-winning, bestselling author of Refuge, God Gave Us You, and The Captain's Bride. She is president and co-founder of Good Books & Company, which sells Christian books and gifts via home shows.

A CONVERSATION WITH LISA T. BERGREN

Q. What inspired you to write this series?

A. wo quotes are ruling my mind and heart these days: C.S. Lewis said, “The value of myth is that it takes all the things we know and restores to them the rich significance which has been hidden by the veil of familiarity”; John Eldredge wrote, “The story of your life is a long and brutal assault by the one who knows what you could be and fears it.” If we could tear away “the veil of familiarity,” truly understand that our lives—regardless of where we are, what our roles are at the moment—have eternal impact, and that the enemy is doing all he can to discover it, it would radically change our world.

I’ve always loved the epic saga—stories and characters that you can invest yourself in, learn from, experience. In watching the Lord of the Rings trilogy on film, I wanted to go after something similar in feel. Classic good vs. evil, heroes and villains, the whole kit and caboodle. When Publishers Weekly said, “Disregard Da Vinci Code comparisons and think Lord of the Rings, but without Hobbits and the allegorical trappings,” I took it as a huge pat on the back.

Q. Were you inspired by The Da Vinci Code too?

A. I loved the pacing of that book—the mysteries and turns. It was the first novel in many years that I read in under 24 hours. But I objected to the conclusions of the author, things I found objectionable to my faith. So…yes and no.

Q. Is it hard to keep a cast of characters straight?

A. It’s definitely a challenge. But I love the plot twists that so many characters and personalities allow me to write. You have Daria, who has taken over this series (and I didn’t see that coming!), what with her highly desirable gift of healing, and the handfasting all gone wrong. Gianni stole my heart with the conflict in his own; Hasani, tall and strong and silent, I find fascinating. Piero is the perfect “wise man” for my cast, a classic fictional archetype, and Tessa surprised me by showing up as a child. And Vito…I’m always drawn to the funny sidekicks that break the tension in movies. That’s why he’s in the mix.

Q. What is with the handfasting? Were Daria and Marco married or not?

A. Research always turns over fabulous elements for any fiction writer. I learned that in that time, particularly among nobles, couples could have a Church-sanctioned “handfasting,” basically a dry run at marriage, with the distinct goal of becoming pregnant. If things went well, they went through with a betrothal and the sacrament of marriage. For Daria and Marco, both so desperate for an heir, since they are the last in each of their families, it was vital. It’s a tragic element that I think adds depth to the series—to have loved, and yet not been able to continue on together, simply because of the practical needs of the times. A romance novel would have made them choose to stay together, regardless; an epic trilogy allows us to see what happens to them both when a different choice must be made.

Q. In this era, were women really as educated as Daria? Allowed to run businesses?

A. Very few. But there are historical references. So there was historical justification to write her that way, especially as the sole heir of the d’Angelo fortune.

Q. What about medical advancements of the time?

A. It was pretty archaic. They were all about the bodily “humours” and somewhat mystical means of healing. But they were also pretty extraordinary in their use of natural materials—herbs, roots, etc.—to treat ailments. Still, I read an account of an entire leg being transplanted about the time of our series. It didn’t work out, but that they even tried is amazing!

Q. How involved was your research?

A. Pretty in-depth. When you conceive a novel, it seems like it will be easy. You go off of what you know, have read, have seen—the romantic stuff in the catalog of memory. But then you begin reading, you pick up a massive two-volume encyclopedia of Medieval Italian history, you discover discrepancies between the historians, and that the Gifted’s society is even significantly different from the Renaissance era a hundred years later. It’s really getting to know a world from scratch. The trick in writing a historical supernatural thriller is that you have to weave in enough history to give the reader a sense of the times, but you can’t be too absorbed in the detail, because it will detract from the pacing. For instance, I elected not to get into the fact that at the time, each area of Italy spoke a different language, or a significantly different dialect. It was really Dante who unified the languages. So, in honor of the genre, you pick and choose what you use.

Q. Where did Abramo Amidei come from?

A. Not a whole lot more inspiration than Classic Villain here—charming, handsome, but evil to the core. I did quite a bit of research about the cults of the time, dark magic and all that, and his troop emerges from that.

Q. Some of your scenes are remarkably sensual.

A. Yes. There’s historical evidence that groups who practiced the dark arts often gave themselves over in orgies, bestiality, really an “anything goes/anything you feel like” mentality. There were black cats on the altar, child sacrifices…many horrors. My goal was to hint at it, without bringing it on stage too much. But we need to see how depraved this group is to truly recognize how good and righteous (although imperfect) our Gifted are—to contrast the light against the dark. Abramo Amidei is bent on owning people any which way he can get them—via money, sex, power. And he’s very good at bringing people in on all three fronts until he meets up with the Gifted. He goes after Daria as a “queen upon his altar,” because he’s seen she’s willing to walk away from her money and power in Siena in order to pursue the call on her life. This is his last hope in his pursuit to turn her, bewitch her, own her. And he attempts to do so mentally, spiritually, and physically—all fronts.

Q. How does that relate to us today?

A. Any good historical fiction has contemporary application. I believe the devil still uses any force that drives us—money, sex, power, whatever7mdash;to own us. We must always be aware of how to use any gifts God has given us to reflect the light, not darkness. To do what is right and honorable and true. To be one of the good guys (or girls!).

Q. Talk to us about your views of the Catholic Church.

A. My views of the medieval Catholic Church would be widely corroborated by contemporary Catholics. Internally, things were going poorly for the Church at the time, with major corruption that only escalated as decades passed (that which Martin Luther really objected to a couple of centuries later—and led to the birth of the Protestant Church). We’ll see more “bad guy Catholics” in the next book, as well as many “good guy Catholics,” because the Church is the major force in book 3 and I want it to be clear that not all were off the path. Catholicism, of course, was the only Church of the time—so I fervently hope I am not seen as Catholic-bashing; I know many faithful Catholics who are doing Christ’s good work in the world! Jesus took issue with the clerics in power during his time; we’ve seen powerful non-denominational preachers fall in our day—again, it’s something we always have to keep an eye on. The devil will always be preying upon those in power, regardless of their religious affiliation.

Q. What happens next for our Gifted?

A. They’re heading to Avignon to take on the Church, about to discover the full extent of their call and how they might fulfill prophecy, and they’re still pursued by forces of evil. There will be a big, climactic ending. You’ll have to read book 3 to find out if Amidei is a part of that or not!

Q. Did you get to go to France on research?

A. The South of France, briefly, yes. And a third trip to Italy. I’m reading The Birth of Venus right now—fabulous book, fabulous detail, fabulous writing—and because it’s set in Florence, it just makes me want to go back again. I’m totally in love with Italy and very concerned that no other country will ever measure up when I explore it, (which I hope to do anyway!)

Q. What else is in your book stacks?

A. I just finished The Memory Keeper’s Daughter and loved how Edwards wove in the storyline of the degenerating properties of a bad decision and a secret long kept, and I’m looking forward to reading Khaled Hosseini’s A Thousand Splendid Suns, Kathryn Mackel’s The Hidden, Tracy Groot’s Madman, and Tom Morrisey’s In High Places. I always have a pile of books, tempting me to sit back and read rather than sit down at my computer and write!

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS FOR THE BETRAYED

  • Things go from bad to worse for the Gifted in The Betrayed. What was the hardest scene for you to read in this book and why?
     
  • Have you ever been in a position where you thought it was as bad as it could be, and then it got worse?
     
  • The author attempted to show each character experiencing a measure of betrayal—Vincenzo feels as if Daria has betrayed him and then betrays her in horrific ways; Gianni feels betrayed when Daria’s eye is drawn back to Vincenzo and Marco, even when he warns her; Hasani is betrayed by those who capture him; Basilio and Rune are betrayed by former employers. Have you ever been betrayed? By whom? How did you deal with it?
     
  • On p. 293, Abramo Amidei taunts Daria about God’s inaction. What biblical scene did this remind you of? Have you ever wrestled with this question yourself?
     
  • Why would God rescue the Gifted in Il Campo of Siena, allowing their escape, but not rescue them here? Why do you think God does not move at times, when he clearly is able?
     
  • Have you ever been drawn to, pulled in by evil? In what circumstance? How were you successful (or not) in combating it?
     
  • Amidei attempts to break Daria emotionally (using fear and threats to her friends), spiritually (asking questions that are logical and difficult to answer), and physically (whipping). If you were in her shoes, which would have been the most difficult attack to endure and why?
     
  • On p. 298, Daria rails against God. Have you ever been furious at God? Told Him about it? Do you think He can handle it?
     
  • If The Begotten is largely about healing and love, The Betrayed is largely about perseverance and faith. What is it about persevering through a difficult time or experience that can make us more faithful, stronger? Describe your own experience.
     
  • If you could have one of the Gifted’s gifts, which would you ask for, and why? As a reminder, we’ve seen wisdom, faith, healing, visions, discernment, miraculous powers so far.
     
  • What are your views about the Church today? Do you attend church? Why or why not? What do you think your neighborhood church would be like today if people like the Gifted were in attendance?
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
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Sort by: Showing 1 – 9 of 8 Customer Reviews
  • Posted January 29, 2009

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    A reviewer

    I totally loved the first book in this series, The Begotten. It was fabulous. The second book in this series, The Betrayed was just as good. I recommend reading the series in order. There was a point in the middle of The Betrayed when I put this book down due to other commitments, but when I picked it up again I was pulled right back into that world. The brutality the 'gifted' experienced was as powerful as the miraculous events. I couldn't believe how many times they were captured after trying to get free. And being pursued like that had to make them crazy. I found the parallel between the 'dark' lord and Satan quite interesting. He would get furious when Daria quoted scripture during times of suffering, yet that was the one thing that sustained her. For me, another profound conclusion from this story was how God will sometimes allow others to suffer alongside us to provide encouragement. I loved the message about God's perfect timing and tuning into his voice. And the strategies that the evil Lord, Sorcerer Abramo, used to try to break them were so similar to the devil's. First he tries luring you in with your own lusts and weaknesses. If that doesn't break you he goes after your flesh (like with sickness) and if you still refuse to curse God in the midst of that pain he tries the ultimate tactic of hurting those you love. What a wicked enemy we have! Bergren did such a fabulous job of making me see how the enemy works through this parallel story. It makes me want to memorize more scriptures that I can use when I need encouragement and when I need to fight off the enemy's attacks. As far as the edgy factor goes? I'd rate this with 8 out of ten stars for edgy content. If you want to experience an adventure that will both thrill you and at the same time cut you to the very marrow of your bones, you will love this book.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 29, 2009

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    The next LOTR?

    Once again I was enthralled by this book. The details are so rich and the characters are extremely well developed that I felt that I was pulled along into the story. At first it was a little difficult trying to remember who everyone was and what their gifts were. The action doesn't really pick up also until the middle of the book. But when it does, BAM! there's a whole lot of excitement going on. Daria has become one of my favorite female characters ever because of her faith and strength. Even when questioning God for the treatment she and others must suffer doesn't waiver her belief. Actually it was good timing that I read this book because my pastor was doing a series on exactly the questions Daria asked in the story. The villain in this book, Amidei, is deliciously evil and the way that he manipulates people to get to the Gifted is scary. The rest of the Gifted are extremely loyal to Daria and will do whatever it takes to save her. All of them get their faith tested in this book. It was also fun to discover a new member of the Gifted as well. Bergren is able to weave historical fact with her imaginative tale perfectly. It's a wonderful blend of fantasy, history and biblical knowledge. The story leaves you hanging so I am eagerly looking forward to the last book in the series. Highly recommended for fans of epic stories like LOTR or Narnia.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 9, 2008

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    An exciting and exhilarating historical thriller

    In the year 1340, the Gifted, those chosen by God to spread Christ¿s word among the masses and endowed with divine powers, are in Venice looking for clues to where the Lord wants them to go next. The group consists of the healer Lady Daria d¿Angelo Sir Gianni whose gift is faith Hasani has visions and Father Piero known for his wisdom and Tessa who has discernment and knows who is good and who is evil.-------------- They are pursued by Lord Abramo Amidei who worships the forces of darkness and sacrifices children on the altar of his god. He intends to capture and convert the Gifted or destroy them his plan is to separate them so that they do not have each other to rely on when he tortures them into doubting their beliefs. While the Gifted search for a glass map, a piece of which is hidden in the seven churches of Venice, Cardinal Boreli observes them as he hopes to use them to bring the papacy back to full power when he becomes the pope. Daria is captured and taken to Abramo¿s prison where he tortures her: hoping to break her spirit. The rest of the Gifted mount a rescue, but it will take a miracle from God to free her from that darkness.------------ By books end, the Gifted knows where they are needed next, a place that is anathema to them yet their faith is so strong they don¿t doubt God¿s will and obey him even though they are heading into more troubles. The Gifted are good and honorable but circumstances sometimes causes them to have doubts. Abramo is a fully developed villain who is the sworn enemy of the Gifted and will do whatever is necessary to convert or kill them. Lisa T. Bergren has written an exciting thriller that is full of surprises and confrontations between good and evil.------------ Harriet Klausner

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 25, 2014

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    Even better than the first!  Couldn't put it down!

    Even better than the first!  Couldn't put it down!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 5, 2010

    Really enjoyed this book!

    I really enjoyed reading this book. I love historical novels and this one was interesting and entertaining. It was not slow going, kept a fast pace right from the beginning and has a different and interesting twist to religion. The time frame and plot are very interesting and informative. The characters and their exploits make it a page turner and keeps the interest. I really enjoyed the way the author put into perspective some of the historal information from the times and places. The characters get into some tough places and situations but their faith in God keeps them going. They are a group with each one having a different type of "power" per se, which separatly does not add up to much. But together, as a group, they are like spokes on a wheel, it all comes together and works. Makes me want to go visiting those places now. I highly recommend if you like this type of historical novel. Now I am wanting to go find the others in the series by this author!

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  • Posted May 22, 2009

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    I Also Recommend:

    The Gifted Face Their Darkest Hour

    L. Bergren gave us a fantastic opening in Bk 1 "The Begotten," introducing us to the Gifted, people from all walks of life endowned by our Creator with divine powers, destined to return the Word and Presense of God to the people of the world. We left them fleeing the manor of their leader, Daria D'Angelo, pursued by the evil forces of the Sorcerer Abramo Amidei, who longs to convert them and control their amazing abilities.
    In Bk 2, "The Betrayed," we find the healer, Daria & her fellow gifted: Gianni-the knight of faith-, Father Piero-the priest of wisdom-, Contessa-the child discerner, Hasani-the seer of visions, & their knights venturing to find where God is leading them now.
    They hide from the Sorcerer in Venice, hoping to seek God's direction and regain their strength, when they are delivered both good & bad tidings. The good come from an artist who tells them a legend of a glass map left by Apollo, a follower of Saint Paul, which may contain guidance for the Gifted. But...at the same time, Hasani has a dreadful vision that Lady Daria will be captured by the Sorcerer. Daria bravely declares 'come what may' & they go to seek the map. Traveling from church to church, they come up with various covers for seeking the pieces, and every time there's an adventure to be had in recovering the parts of the map.
    But, we find in #2 that the Sorcerer also has a portion of the all-important letter from #1 and he knows they are looking for the map-& he beats them to two pieces of it! So, holding both a letter fragment & map pieces, he knows the Gifted will HAVE to come to him eventually, but he doesn't wait for them. At the baptism of a Contessa's twins, Daria and Abramo meet again. We see the might of the Sorcerer at the gathering, where he casts illusions to fool Daria and calls down lightning to burn the manor. Daria is captured and the Gifted divided.
    We see how real Bergren makes her characters. The Gifted are not invincible superheroes who always have the answers. We see how they struggle to understand how God could allow trials and hardships and life-threatening peril to come upon them. We see them both argue and come together, and in the end trust in God's plan, even if He does not make them privy the details right away. A big theme in this book is enduring suffering, overcoming evil with the Word of God, & keeping faith even when understanding the "why's" is elusive.
    The scenes where Daria and the Sorcerer face off are really intense. Begren does not mince words and though she isn't a gorey author (which I'm glad of), this isn't watered down either. The suffering feels very real. I felt it when Daria was abused and tortured, but cheered for her every round she won against Abramo.
    While Daria and Abramo wage war, the other Gifted submit to God's prompting and collect the other map pieces, praying Daria will survive till they can rescue her. But, we see also how God, a very real and present character in this series, is working, unseen by the Gifted, to free Daria. A new Gifted, a fisherman who can work miracles, comes into play, and is a key figure in preparing her escape. Finally, all is set and they invade Abramo's island fortess to rescue Daria.
    The rescue is very daring, my pulse raced as they infiltrated the false abbey to free her and were caught by Abramo's forces. In the end, they manage to escape, but you'll have to read it for the details

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    Posted July 22, 2010

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    Posted January 27, 2010

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    Posted August 20, 2010

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