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Posted January 20, 2010
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"Pierced by a Sword" is an apocalyptic novel by Bud MacFarlane, Jr. written from a Catholic perspective on the end times. It begins with a post-tribulation "flash-forward" into a period of great peace on the Earth, then returns to roughly the present time where the world is rapidly approaching a one-world government and a new form of persecution of Christians. Its characters include a host of "regular guys/gals" whose perceptions and responses to events offer depth to the story, and an intriguing down-to-earth yet deeply devoted priest, Fr. Chet Sullivan.
I found the story enjoyable. The two primary strengths of the book were its solid theology (which incorporates scenarios based on prophetic messages from approved Marian apparitions) and its utterly positive and hopeful "feel" throughout; I don't think the reader ever questions whether or not good is going to ultimately triumph. These two qualities are often lacking in many apocalyptic/dystopian novels.
On the more critical side (and as mentioned by others) this is not "great literature" as one might consider works by Dostoevsky or Michael O'Brien--yet I hasten to add, if the purpose of reading the book is for enjoyment, thought provocation, and edification in one's Christian Faith, then "literary greatness" is not intrinsic for a good read. The second item which I offer more as an observation than a criticism relates to one of the strengths I identified; though I do believe "hope" will be a critical virtue to cling to as we enter into these difficult times, the vileness of evil will no doubt be much darker than portrayed here, there will certainly be a great deal of ambiguity requiring incredible (if not supernatural) prayerful discernment, and the temptation to despair will be immense. Considering the author's ministry, I believe this to be a conscious choice on his part, as perhaps most of the "Catholic Fiction" audience is more concerned with fidelity to the "thinking of the Church" than blatant realism.
I would recommend this book especially for the new and just-about-to-be-new Catholic, as well as the young Catholic reader (I can see where it would be great material for discussion between parents and their adolescent children). I think especially the brief images of the prophesied "Era of Peace" are incredibly heartening, and provide a much needed dose of encouragement and hope in light of the difficult times--both those we that live in and those that are to come.
Posted May 6, 2009
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I find it interesting that this book was written pre-9/11 and before the most recent financial chaos, since some of the themes and events ring eerily similar in this book to current events. Fast paced with a "catholic" edge and message, but easy enough to read to keep both teens and adults interested.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted March 1, 2003
This book brought me comfort and a realization of what I needed to change and focus on in my own life. I carry its messages always in my mind and heart. Please take the time to read this beautiful and inspired book. A book for any Catholic, young or old. The characters become close friends, and seem real, perhaps they are like your friends.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted June 24, 2001
Posted November 5, 2000
All the books written by Bud Macfarlane Jr. are great books for today's world. The best thing is that the publisher is a non-profit Catholic apostolate and gives many books away for free. Don't be discouraged if you can't find a copy of the book easily!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted July 21, 2000
This is one of my all-time favorites! It grabs your attention and you can't put it down. Shows how God guides every instant of our lives, and is very inspiring. It blends real life experiences with the supernatural (unseen) occurances. It provides a glimpse into the truths of the Catholic faith, with an awesome ending!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted July 22, 2000
I highly recommend this book to anyone. It showed me that a great book can be written that portrays good people that actually live the faith they believe in.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted June 28, 2000
However, if you enjoy some really good catholic fiction that keeps preachy under the covers, I think you would really enjoy this. It does make you think a little deeper than this weekend's party so if that's a problem, you may want to skip this book. I had to coax my (worldly but good) kids into reading my copy. Bad move. Since I couldn't get it back from their friends I had to get another copy.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted May 15, 2000
'Pierced by a Sword' has complemented my Catholic upbringing. I no longer believe in being lucky or things happening by chance. God's hand is in everything and it is up to us whether we accept it or reject His plan. I have read the book twice and bought several copies to give away to friends for them to read. Believe me, it has started some really good conversations. Too good to put into words.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted February 24, 2000