The Pilgrim

The Pilgrim

by Davis Bunn

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781616368654
Publisher: Franciscan Media
Publication date: 07/17/2015
Pages: 176
Sales rank: 470,864
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.30(h) x 0.40(d)

About the Author


Davis Bunn, a professional novelist for twenty-four years, has sales in excess of seven million copies in twenty languages. He has appeared on numerous national bestseller lists, and his titles have been Main or Featured Selections with every major U.S. bookclub. Davis serves as Writer-In-Residence at Regent’s Park College, Oxford University, and has served as Lecturer in Oxford’s new creative writing program. In 2011, his novel Lion of Babylon was named a Best Book of the Year by Library Journal. The sequel, Rare Earth, won Davis his fourth Christy Award for Excellence in Fiction in 2013. In 2014, Davis was granted the Lifetime Achievement award by the Christy board of judges.

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The Pilgrim 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 11 reviews.
Dennis_Brooke More than 1 year ago
For three centuries Roman emperors did their best to crush the movement started by the disciples of a Jewish preacher they had executed as a common criminal. In “The Pilgrim” Davis Bunn tells the tale of the woman and her son who made that movement the official religion of the Roman Empire. Bunn uses historical fact, legend, and masterful storytelling to weave a story about Helena, the spurned wife of one Roman Emperor and the mother of a future one, and her quest to find the cross upon which Jesus was crucified. Through this story and her example, I also learned something about forgiveness—and my personal journey. Davis’ research and master of the craft made me feel like I was witnessing the early days of the church and a turning point in its history. I’ve done research on this place and era for my own book and Davis’ descriptions are spot on. You might read The Pilgrim for the great tale, the characters, and what you learn about this important time in history. You’ll remember it for what it teaches you about yourself. I received a copy of this book from Franciscan Media in exchange for my honest review.
Kathae More than 1 year ago
She was just a pilgrim, about to make a pilgrimage from Caesarea to Jerusalem, on foot. Then why did an army meet her in the harbor? Why did she have an assassin tracking her? Helena, former wife of a Roman emperor, mother of Constantine, was a Christian, and an outcast. The story of her pilgrimage is historically based, at a time when persecution of Christians was the law of the land in ancient Rome. As she journeys with her small entourage, they must learn to trust each other. More importantly, they must learn to trust in God in ways they had never needed to before. As Helena makes this spiritual journey, it is a spiritual journey for the reader as well. Lessons of trust, forgiveness, and compassion endear the characters to the reader. This is not a long story, but I was fully involved in it. I did not know much about this period of history, so it was exciting to watch the events unfold. I highly recommend this book to those who enjoy history, Church history, and stories of faith. I received a copy of this book from the publisher, Franciscan Media, in exchange for an honest review, which I have given.
Toria94 More than 1 year ago
The Pilgrim, by Davis Bunn, is a thought provoking narrative dealing with acceptance, forgiveness, and faith. The book is a work of fiction and therefore should not be viewed with a mind toward theological debates. The three aforementioned aspects of life are some that we battle with daily. Often the battle goes on for years based on the extent of damage and our ability to overcome circumstances beyond our control. I can relate with the characters and several of their plights. Empathizing with a character allows one to better identify with the subject matter. The author does a great job of helping the reader realize that knowing one ought to forgive and being able to do so do not always go hand in hand, at least not immediately. While the main characters are Christians, they are shown to not be perfect and to struggle with the events in their lives that have hurt them deeply and permanently changed their futures. Repeatedly reliving the event(s) that caused the pain is what tends to make forgiving so difficult. The characters in this book were not immune to the consequences of rehashing events that could not be changed but which must be dealt with and endured. Remorse, self-doubt, self-pity, and the persistent “what if” question is shown to do nothing to further the characters healing process or their spiritual growth. Each character in this book works through the process of accepting his or her new set of circumstances, with coming to terms with their need to forgive those who were seen to have caused them pain, including God in Anthony’s case, and has their faith tested to the nth degree. While only those with a very good knowledge of history would be able to discern whether or not the events and geographical descriptions are accurate, almost anyone who reads this book will be able to understand the turmoil that the actions of others, or life occurrences, can create. I enjoyed The Pilgrim and was personally challenged to follow the examples of its characters, a task that’s almost always easier said than done. For those who homeschool I can see this book being used as a unit study covering Bible, geography, history, and language arts. Advanced students could also cover sociology and psychology. The student can research the various historical events, trace the route to learn about different cities, cultures, and cuisine, and look into the lives of different characters to determine how much of what they’ve read is true and how much was added by the author. That exercise alone would be an excellent way to learn “the rest of the story” as Paul Harvey would say. A book report and/or essay(s) based on their research of the subject matter would be a great finish. Enough material is here to structure either a one semester study or a full year study as determined by the parent/teacher. You will find this book to be not only an interesting and enjoyable read but also one that will challenge and enlighten you. It will help you to deal with your own need to forgive and move on or possibly better understand someone you know who is having a difficult time forgiving and accepting their new normal. In the event that the latter is the case, this book would be an excellent gift choice for that friend or acquaintance and may lead to fruitful discussions whereby you can help and encourage them to move forward and past their circumstances. I received a complimentary copy of this book from Franciscan Media in exchange for my honest review.
J_Augustine More than 1 year ago
One woman will lead them... History and legend merge in The Pilgrim, a tale of courage, forgiveness, and sacrifice. In this story you will meet Helena, historical figure, saint, pilgrim, and follower of Jesus. This slim little novel, only 165 pages, packs quite a message. Through Helena and the others we see how God forgives us of even the most grievous of sins and uses those broken bits to speak to others. Helena's courage in, not only initially starting her journey, but continuing on in the face of her own personal struggles. No matter what she maintains her belief in the vision God gave her and she forges ahead in her mission despite seemingly insurmountable odds. But when things look bleakest miracles begin to happen. Even as non-Catholic who has thought little of saints I felt encouraged by Helena's story. To move out of my comfort zone. To step out in faith and follow God's will in the midst of uncertainty, even when it seems a fool's errand and the proverbial deck is stacked against a person. Davis Bunn paints a vivid portrait of the Holy Land in the 4th century. Life and death are but a heartbeat away for these Believers. A time and place of great danger and great change is brought to life. (I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my review. All opinions are my own.)
Amy_Nowak More than 1 year ago
The Pilgrim is an epic novel, a spectacle of the harrowing journey to find impossible treasure. It is a map of courage and faith while traveling in unknown territory, both physically and metaphorically. It is a faith builder, a study in humility, and a role model for feminine virtue and strength. Davis Bunn artfully shows how, during a dangerous pilgrimage, Empress Helena rises to meet every challenge through her belief in the One who rose from the dead. It includes stories of great sorrow and emptiness. Persecution and fear. But there are also miracles, and a bit of romance, too! Through this story, I knew the injustice, hunger, and ridicule so many early Christians endured. I tasted the dust of ruins, experienced the fear of being hunted, and felt elation from gaining the gradual yet undying support of unlikely friends. I recommend this book for anyone interested in early Church history, but especially to young women looking for an example of godliness in a time of great ridicule and persecution. I received an advanced reader copy provided by Franciscan Media in return for my honest review.
GrandaddyA More than 1 year ago
The Church at Work - This is a beautiful story about Helena, who had been the Empress of Rome, being led in a vision to make a pilgrimage to Jerusalem. She begins her journey not knowing if she will arrive at her destination or even what she is seeking if she arrives safely. She simply knows that she must go and God said He would be with her. Just like her, each person traveling with her seemed to have their own personal battles. As I read and contemplated the book, it suddenly occurred to me that this story exemplifies what the Church should be like. I'm not talking about a woman taking a very long journey by ship and on foot with the constant threat of attack from those who hate Christians. And I’m not talking about every Christian making a trip to the Holy Land. I'm talking about giving and receiving forgiveness, grace, mercy, love, healing, and far more. I’m talking about the Church meeting the needs of those all around. Davis Bunn delivers a great message to all Christians without being preachy. In fact, he doesn’t even quote Scripture in the book. However, the message is lived out in the lives of the characters of the book. If you enjoy fiction with a life-changing message, I recommend you read this book. I received a complimentary copy of this book from Franciscan Media in exchange for my honest review.
kade82 More than 1 year ago
“I believe in miracles . . .” The gospel song written by John W. Peterson kept running through my mind as I neared the conclusion of Davis Bunn’s latest historical novel, The Pilgrim, and for good reason: The journey of Helena, mother of Constantine, as a pilgrim to Jerusalem after being divorced without cause and disgraced as a result, is nothing short of miraculous. After Helena is exiled by her husband, she travels to meet her son. While on her way she is visited by God in a vision and instructed to take a pilgrimage to Jerusalem. Her journey is perilous with threats of death from Roman authority in Caesarea and the surrounding region. God’s hand is upon her, however, as she is joined by others on the way to Jerusalem. The story casts Helena as the central character; however, three others – a young soldier, an experienced sergeant, and a bishop/pastor who no longer has a church – are as important to the story in their own way as Helena is. The Pilgrim is neither a long novel nor a quick read, and Davis Bunn successfully proves that fiction doesn’t have to be without meaning. As fiction The Pilgrim is entertaining; however, the book doesn’t shy away from asking some deep questions: Am I burdened with doubt? Have I failed my Lord in any way? Do I have a reason to continue living, a purpose for my life? As the characters in the book come to understand, we will find the answers to our questions when we seek those answers from the only One who can truly provide them. I believe readers will be blessed and encouraged by The Pilgrim. It is the best historical novel I’ve read this year, well worth the 5-Star rating I am giving it. I received a complimentary copy of this book from Franciscan Media in exchange for my honest review.
debhgrty More than 1 year ago
Deb’s Dozen: One woman, divorced and disgraced, on pilgrimage following her vision from God. Helena, Empress, Augustine—Helena, divorced, disgraced arrives in Caesarea on a mission from God. She is to go on pilgrimage to Jerusalem. However, first she is to deliver a message from her son, Constantine, and Licinus, the general who ruled the eastern armies, to the governor of Judea, Fermilian, to be sent to the ruler of Damascus, Caesar Maximinus. The orders read that Christians are no longer to be persecuted, that all confiscated property is to be returned, that all their Roman rights of citizenship are restored, that all destroyed churches are to be rebuilt at the government’s expense. All Christians in prison are to be immediately released. This is the Edict of Milan. Maximinus and Fermilian were two of the worst enemies of Christianity, sworn to wipe Christians from the face of the earth. Fermilian scoffs at the edict saying the Senate is far away. He says he will see Helena’s bones baking beneath the desert sun. Their assassin, Severus, is charged to follow and destroy her small band. Helena, in gray pilgrim garb, is accompanied by Cratus, the grizzled soldier who had originally brought her the news of her divorce but who has come to honor the lady, who led him to Jesus. Anthony, a soldier tasked by Constantine to see his mother safely on her quest, follows as well although he is not certain of anything except he hopes to die in this land. The wife of a priest who died on the voyage serves Helena as her maid. Four people, walking to Jerusalem, mules to carry their supplies, and horses for the men, are joined by the injured, disfigured Bishop of Jerusalem—a man without a church as his was destroyed in the downfall of the city. They are all changed on this pilgrimage—as you will be as you read this story. God is amazing and uses the oddest assortment of people to work His will. Seldom have I read a story that has gripped my attention so swiftly and held it to the end of the book, which I read in one sitting. Davis Bunn makes the characters of Helena, Anthony, Cratus, and Macarius come alive. You will be enraptured, enthralled, and amazed at what God did with this very small group who were faithful to the vision He gave them. I’m left filled with awe and hope—that God will do once again what He did all those years ago—restore His city fully to Himself. Five Stars! Davis Bunn is a multiple-award winning author with over seven million books sold. He’s been on multiple best seller lists. His titles have been Main or Featured selections with every major US book club. In 2014, he was given the Lifetime Achievement Award by the Christy board of judges. Franciscan Media gave me a copy of The Pilgrim in exchange for my candid review.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The Pilgrim By Davis Bunn I was privileged to read the advance copy of Davis Bunn’s newest book, “The Pilgrim.” As with every book by Davis, I found that his ability to change voice and writing style makes each story interesting to read. He is never a cookie-cutter author. “The Pilgrim” is the fictionalized story of Helena, mother of Constantine. I found the story compelling. Having never read about Helena and only having heard her name in passing, I was motivated to read more about her. Legends abound but the general story of her life was consistent in my research. Helena made a pilgrimage to Judea in response to a vision and her acts of charity plus her many church plants became legend. Davis brought this lady to life for me. I identified with her struggles as a believer and her desire to serve the Lord as He called her to do. Historical figures are often two-dimensional; we know who they are and what they did, but we do not know their day-to-day thoughts and struggles. Davis surrounded Helena with flawed people, the obligatory enemy and wary territory residents. It is the story of one woman’s faith, her journey and the countless lives touched by her simple act of obedience. I received a complimentary copy of this book from Franciscan Media in exchange for my honest review.
Henry_McLaughlin More than 1 year ago
The Pilgrim by Davis Bunn From the back cover: Abandoned by her husband, in danger because of her faith, but with an implacable will to what God calls her to do, Empress Helena takes a perilous pilgrimage from Caesarea to Judea and Jerusalem. Along the way she meets those who would help her: the deposed bishop, Macarius; rough-edged yet kind-hearted sergeant Cratus; Anthony, a young soldier who has lost everything, including his faith. And she is pursued by the Roman assassin, Severus, whose assignment is to kill her. Miracles follow this humble but determined woman as she wins many to the faith and changes lives forever. Including her own. There are several things to like in this story about the discovery of the True Cross. The historical accuracy places the reader right in the story world of political upheaval in the Roman Empire of Constantine and the persecution of Christians and Jews. The setting is vividly created in the tale of Helena’s pilgrimage, the ruins of Jerusalem, and the surrounding countryside. As I read the novel, I found I wanted to know the characters more closely. They seemed to hold themselves at arms length, describing their fears and dreams as well as their grief and their faith, but not letting the reader experience them fully. I think the story also suffers slightly because, if you’re familiar with the period and the story of Helena, you know the outcome. The story flows quickly without bogging down under heaps of exposition. Bunn does an admirable job of weaving the history seamlessly through the characters experiences without lecturing or getting preachy. Overall, The Pilgrim is an interesting read, especially if Helena and this era are unfamiliar to the reader. I give it 3.5 stars. An advanced reader copy of the book was given to me by the publisher in return for an honest review.
Steve_Doc_Hilton More than 1 year ago
“Helena stood on the ship’s deck and surveyed the army sent to kill her.” In my opinion, author Davis Bunn is the reigning champion of “opening sentences.” In fourteen words, he has managed to capture my curiosity, my attention, and my heart. And it just gets better, from that point on! Helena – the consort of Emperor Constantinus, from which union came Constantine The Great – is on a pilgrimage. Abandoned by her husband, in danger because of her faith, Helena nonetheless presses forward. In so doing, she impacts history as no other woman has done. Miracles seem to follow her as she wins many over to the faith. Lives are changed forever, including her own. Her faith provides the necessary courage, strength, and zeal necessary to begin the journey. . . Will it be enough to see her through? The greatest compliment that I can offer to author Davis Bunn is simply this; he cares. He genuinely desires to “get it right,” to be true to the authentic details of the time of which he is writing. This latest novel, THE PILGRIM, is no exception. And the necessary work that Davis Bunn had to have done in order to attain this authenticity, this faithfulness to the facts of a time so far removed from our own, is a testimony not only to his desire – but to his abilities as a researcher, a scholar, a quintessential student of history. His ability to take the gleanings of his study, and weave them together into the rich fabric of a novel that will gently lay hold of the reader’s attention, and never let it go, is just the frosting on a beautifully baked cake.