The Fifth Mountain

The Fifth Mountain

4.2 34
by Paulo Coelho
     
 

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A struggle of the spirit and a search for the truth

Written with the same masterful prose and clarity of vision that made The Alchemist an international phenomenon, The Fifth Mountain is Paulo Coelho's inspiring story of the Biblical prophet Elijah. In the ninth century B.C., the Phoenician princess Jezebel orders the execution of all the

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Overview

A struggle of the spirit and a search for the truth

Written with the same masterful prose and clarity of vision that made The Alchemist an international phenomenon, The Fifth Mountain is Paulo Coelho's inspiring story of the Biblical prophet Elijah. In the ninth century B.C., the Phoenician princess Jezebel orders the execution of all the prophets who refuse to seek safety in the land of Zarephath, where the unexpectedly finds true love with a young widow. But this newfound rapture is to be cut short, and Elijah sees all of his hopes and dreams irrevocably erased as he is swept into a whirlwind of events that threatens his very existence. In what is truly a literary milestone, Coelho gives a quietly moving account of a man touched by the hand of God who must triumph over his frustrations in a soul-shattering trail of faith.

Editorial Reviews

Time Magazine
More ambitious...than The Alchemist, it is lightened by Coelho's appropriately spare writing style...A thought-provoking personal tale.
Time
More ambitious...that The Alchemist, it is lightened by Coelho's appropriately spare writing style...A thought-provoking personal tale.
Library Journal
This fascinating retelling of the biblical story of the prophet Elijah by Brazilian novelist Coelho is smoothly translated to read like a modern novel. The fleshed-out tale follows Elijah as he flees his homeland of Israel, where Jezebel, Phoenician wife of the king, had ordered the murder of all who reject the pagan god Baal, to Zarephath (Akbar). Elijah's spiritual crises continue after he is taken in by a widow and her son, following his direction from an angel, and ultimately falls in love with the widow. The movement of the novel comes from Elijah's introspective struggle with faith as he confronts his troubles, but the result is neither dull nor preachy and should find a niche among readers of popular fiction. -- Ann H. Fisher, Radford Public Library, Virginia
Time Magazine (International Edition)
More ambitious...than The Alchemist, it is lightened by Coelho's appropriately spare writing style...A thought-provoking personal tale.
Kirkus Reviews
A huge improvement over Brazilian author Coelho's last, the gucky religious romance By the River Piedra I Sat Down and Wept. The carpenter Elijah, at age 23, knows he's a prophet because an angel keeps visiting him and giving him orders on what to do with his life. The Israelites and their One God live under the heels of the Phoenicians and of the slinky Jezebel of Samaria, worshipper of Baal. Jezebel sends her troops and priests out to slay all Israelite prophets, of whom there are many, and so Elijah's angel tells him to flee to the desert, where a crow will feed him daily. Indeed, the crow not only feeds him but talks to him as well, although Elijah insists that he's really talking only with himself. Then the angel appears again, this time telling Elijah that he must avenge the Lord—a plan that includes his going to Akbar and living with a widow. The widow at first resists taking him in. And when her boy dies, the townsfolk take the Israelite's presence as a curse and the cause of the child's death. The priests send Elijah up on Baal's Fifth Mountain, where they assume he'll be consumed by fire. Instead, of course, his angel appears and tells him to return to the widow and raise her boy from the dead. This he does, though the priests don't accept the miracle. In a later test of faith, Elijah, triumphing over these same priests, sets in motion a series of events leading both to Jezebel's death and Baal's humbling. Eventually, Elijah—still alive—is carried off to heaven in a chariot of fire. Compellingly, everyone keeps keen score on the gods as if they are strangely real rival sports teams. Coelho meanwhile handles religion, politics, battles, plagues, theearthshaking arrival of the alphabet, and the destruction and rebuilding of Akbar with realism, suspense, and down-to-earth dialogue. Surprisingly persuasive storytelling.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780060175443
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
02/17/1998
Edition description:
1st Edition
Pages:
256
Product dimensions:
5.76(w) x 8.61(h) x 0.98(d)

Read an Excerpt

The Fifth Mountain
A Novel Chapter One

I have served a Lord who now abandons me into the hands of my enemies," said Elijah.

"God is God," the Levite replied. "He did not tell Moseswhether He was good or evil; He simply said: I am. He is everything thatexists under the sun—the lightning bolt that destroys a house, and thehand of man that rebuilds it."

Talking was the only way to ward off fear; at any moment, soldiers wouldopen the door to the stable where they were hiding, discover them both,and offer the only choice possible: worship Baal, the Phoenician god, orbe executed. They were searching house by house, converting the prophetsor executing them.

Perhaps the Levite would convert and escape death. But for Elijah therewas no choice: everything was happening through his own fault, and Jezebelwanted his head under all circumstances.

"It was an angel of the Lord who obliged me to speak to King Ahab andwarn him that it would not rain so long as Baal was worshiped in Israel,"he said, almost in a plea for absolution for having heeded what the angelhad told him. "But God acts slowly; when the drought begins to takehold, Princess Jezebel will already have destroyed all who remain loyalto the Lord."

The Levite said nothing. He was reflecting on whether he should convertto Baal or die in the name of the Lord.

"Who is God?" Elijah continued. "Is it He who holds the swordof the soldier, the sword that executes those who will not betray the faithof our patriarchs? Was it He who placed a foreign princess on our country'sthrone, so that all this misfortune could befall our generation? Does Godkill the faithful, the innocent, those who follow the lawof Moses?"

The Levite made his decision: he preferred to die. Then he began to laugh,for the idea of death frightened him no longer. He turned to the young prophetbeside him and attempted to calm him. "Ask God, since you doubt Hisdecisions," he said. "I have accepted my fate."

"The Lord cannot wish us to be massacred without mercy," insistedElijah.

"God is all-powerful. If He limited Himself to doing only that whichwe call good, we could not call Him the Almighty; he would command onlyone part of the universe, and there would exist someone more powerful thanHe, watching and judging His acts. In that case, I would worship that morepowerful someone."

"If He is all-powerful, why doesn't He spare the suffering of thosewho love Him? Why doesn't He save them, instead of giving might and gloryto His enemies?"

"I don't know," said the Levite. "But a reason exists, andI hope to learn it soon."

"You have no answer to this question."

"No."

The two men fell silent. Elijah felt a cold sweat.

"You are terrified, but I have already accepted my fate," theLevite said. "I am going out, to bring an end to this agony. Each timeI hear a scream out there, I suffer, imagining how it will be when my timecomes. Since we've been locked in here, I have died a hundredfold, whileI could have died just once. If I am to be beheaded, let it be as quicklyas possible."

He was right. Elijah had heard the same screams, and he had suffered beyondhis ability to withstand.

"I'm going with you. I weary of fighting for a few more hours of life."

He rose and opened the stable door, allowing the sun to enter and exposethe two men hiding there.

The Levite took him by the arm, and they began to walk. If not for one thenanother scream, it would have seemed a normal day in a city like any other—asun that barely tingled the skin, the breeze coming from a distant oceanto moderate the temperature, the dusty streets, the houses built of a mixtureof clay and straw.

"Our souls are prisoners of the terror of death, and the day is beautiful,"said the Levite. "Many times before, when I felt at peace with Godand the world, the temperature was horrible, the desert wind filled my eyeswith sand and did not permit me to see a hand's span before me. Not alwaysdoes His plan agree with what we are or what we feel, but be assured thatHe has a reason for all of this."

"I admire your faith."

The Levite looked at the sky, as if reflecting briefly. Then he turned toElijah. "Do not admire, and do not believe so much; it was a wagerI made with myself. I wagered that God exists."

"You're a prophet," answered Elijah. "You too hear voicesand know that there is a world beyond this world."

"It could be my imagination."

"You have seen God's signs," Elijah insisted, beginning to feelanxiety at his companion's words.

"It could be my imagination," was again the answer. "In actuality,the only concrete thing I have is my wager: I have told myself that everythingcomes from the Most High."

The street was deserted. Inside their houses, the people waited for Ahab'ssoldiers to complete the task that the foreign princess had demanded: executingthe prophets of Israel. Elijah walked beside the Levite, feeling that behindeach door and window was someone watching him—and blaming him for whathad happened.

"I did not ask to be a prophet. Perhaps everything is merely the fruitof my own imagination," thought Elijah.

But, after what had occurred in the carpenter's shop, he knew it was not.

The Fifth Mountain
A Novel
. Copyright © by Paulo Coelho. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

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What People are saying about this

Sophy Burnham
A wry book, full of wit, wise counsel and parables for our time.--Author of The Ecstatic Journey: Walking the Mystical Path in Everyday Life

Meet the Author

Paulo Coelho, born in Rio de Janeiro in 1947, is one of the bestselling and most influential authors in the world. The Alchemist, The Pilgrimage, The Valkyries, Brida, Veronika Decides to Die, Eleven Minutes, The Zahir, The Witch of Portobello, The Winner Stands Alone, Aleph, Manuscript Found in Accra, and Adultery, among others, have sold over 175 million copies worldwide, and The Alchemist has been on the New York Times bestseller list for over 360 weeks.

Paulo Coelho has been a member of the Brazilian Academy of Letters since 2002, and in 2007, he was appointed United Nations Messenger of Peace. He is also the most followed author on social media.

Brief Biography

Hometown:
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Date of Birth:
August 24, 1947
Place of Birth:
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Education:
Left law school in second year
Website:
http://www.paulocoelho.com

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Fifth Mountain 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 34 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Just started reading the book and it's been a great book to read. Big fan of Coelho, the many themes that accommpany his books makes for great reading.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a book with a boy named Elijah. Elijah is a boy that is 23 years old, he is a worshiping good lived man. He lives in Israel at a time when a new leader has taken over and is forcing everyone to worship the god Baal. Anyone who does not worship will be killed. Elijah escapes and listens to the gods as to where he is to go. The gods help him in his journey as he tries to stay faithful to the lord. He ends up in a city called Akbar. He asks a woman if he can live with her. She lets him and everything is going fine, then the boy all of a sudden dies in his sleep. The woman and the town blame this on Elijah because he is a foreigner. He is sentenced to climb the Fifth Mountain and then recieve his fate. He sees his angel and it tells Elijah what to do to bring the boy back to life. Elijah saves the boys life and the rest of the town wants him to help them and their problems. Everything is going good until an Assyrian army camped outside Akbar's walls. All they wanted to do was pass through, but the Governor of Akbar wouldn't let them. The Assyrians attacked and destroyed the city. Elijah survived and started to live with a small Shepard family outside the town. He and the woman's son helped rebuild the city. Elijah was named the govenor of the city but left Akbar when the gods told him to go back to Israel. After he arrived there he divided the people up in two groups, those who worshiped Baal and those who worshiped the lord. He executed those who betrayed the lord and they lived their live. Then when the civil war broke out Elijah ran to the Fifth Mountain and spent the rest of his life there. This story is set in two places, first Israel where Elijah lives, then in a city named Akbar. Some good things that the author did were describing every detail very well, and how everyone felt and what everyone did. The people that would like the book would be people who like interesting stories with gods and foreign nations. I think this book was a good book compared to other foreign books and different county's storys. This book to the Alchemist wasn't as good, this did not have as much adventure or exciting twists as did the Alchemist. I feel that this book was a good book with interesting with very well detailed elements. The conclusion was very well written, it was unexpected and was a nice ending.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I could not finish this book The author stumbles around telling a story that is better told in the Bible.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The story ties in with early Christianity, but there's always a twist to the story, that doesn't turn up until the end! Extremely good reading! Hard to put down one of his books! You'll want to read it straight through until the end! My very favorite is "Aleph!"
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Teaches that sometimes tragedy happens so that we can grow and learn to rebuild.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
An easy read with a great story, both explicitly and underlying.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Top 3 favorite book of all time.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Another reminder that we have to follow our dream. That we constantly have to move forward, that we have to challange ourselves not settle for what we have, or live in the past. Most important, it is a reminder that we have to LIVE.
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