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Christopher Bryan

The following extracts are adapted from Donald S. Armentrout, “Christopher Bryan: A Biographical Note.” In Biblical Imagination: Essays in Honor of Christopher Bryan. Edited by Ellen Bradshaw Aitken. (The University of the South, 2006)

Christopher Bryan was born in London, England, the only son of William Joseph Bryan, a British soldier, and Amy May Bryan. He spent his childhood and early adolescence in London, a period that included the whole of World War II. He still retains vivid memories of the outbreak of war in September 1939, the London Blitz (1940-1941),  ...See more >

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"Bryan's heroes aren't just likable but lovable: intelligent, amusing, hard-working, even kind to animals. In contrast, the novel's villains are truly spooky and disturbing; readers are always aware of the urgency of stopping their evil plans. An enjoyable novel of spiritual mystery and adventure--well plotted, intelligent and deeply moving.” (Kirkus Reviews starred review of Christopher Bryan’s Siding Star)"

Kirkus Reviews


Kirkus Star: SIDING STAR

Named to Kirkus Reviews' Best Books of 2013: SIDING STAR

Named to Kirkus Reviews Best Books of 2013, 2013: SIDING STAR

Named to Kirkus Reviews' Best Books of 2013, 2013: SIDING STAR


Pub Date:
ISBN: 978-0985391133
Page count: 328pp

An English detective investigates a homicide that has supernatural implications and leads to a mysterious organization and the ultimate battle between good and evil.

In Exeter, England, DI Cecilia Cavaliere investigates the death of John Cox, a young teacher. She quickly finds that his murder is connected to the mysterious Academy for Philosophical Studies, whose chairman is secretly in league with the devil. At the same time, at nearby R.A.F. Harlsden, Capt. Lancelot Scott, of the 92nd Missile Wing of the U.S.A.F., is unaware that the deadly Peacekeeper nuclear missiles under his command are part of the chairman’s plot to jump-start World War III. When her investigation leans toward the supernatural, Cecilia feels out of her depth, but fortunately, she receives help from religious scholar and Anglican priest Michael Aarons, a friend of her father’s, and Friedrich Spee von Langenfeld, a mysterious Jesuit. In the end, it comes down to the ultimate confrontation between good and evil, as Cavaliere and Aarons face off against the chairman and a satanic consultant from the Infernal City. In this sequel to the author’s Siding Star (2012), it’s fairly obvious how things will turn out, but since the characters are created with such intelligence, readers will nonetheless want to stick around to find out what fate has in store for them. A hint of romance between Cavaliere and Aarons provides additional interest in the story’s outcome. The author, an Anglican priest, writes authoritatively when it comes to religion, though he also entertains with details about how homicide investigations are run and how a missile installation works. He is, however, at his most eloquent when describing the nature of spirituality: “The universe is a dance….And we were created to be part of it,” says the mysterious Spee. At moments like this, this novel is much more than the sum of its parts.

Part mystery, part religious debate, this old-fashioned, well-written novel is wholly entertaining.

Pub Date:
ISBN: 978-0985391102
Page count: 406pp

A detective inspector joins forces with an Anglican priest and an astronomer to thwart a shadowy organization’s sinister plans in this debut suspense thriller.

In England’s Exeter Cathedral, a man with a strange black book is found dead in front of the altar, with occult signs spray-painted on the floor and a crucifix overturned. In Australia’s Siding Springs Observatory, a young astronomer named Charlie Brown discovers a supernova that’s sending “a hail of high-energy particles and electromagnetic radiation” straight toward Earth. Linking these events are the machinations of a secret society bent on power and destruction. As DI Cecilia Cavaliere investigates the secrets of the black book, she turns to scholar and Anglican priest Michael Aarons for help. Cecilia, Michael and Charlie must confront a world-threatening challenge with cleverness, courage, science and faith—as well as love and friendship. In this entertaining, thought-provoking novel, Bryan (The Resurrection of the Messiah, 2011, etc.)—himself an Anglican priest—highlights the imaginative sweep and power of Christianity. As Charlie says, “I can say, the universe has to be the way it is, otherwise I wouldn’t be here. And that’s certainly true. But still, to be in awe or not to be in awe, that’s a choice—an emotional choice—and I don’t see opting for one as being any more or less ‘scientific’ than opting for the other.” Bryan’s heroes aren’t just likable but lovable: intelligent, amusing, hardworking, even kind to animals. In contrast, the novel’s villains are truly spooky and disturbing; readers are always aware of the urgency of stopping their evil plans.

An enjoyable novel of spiritual mystery and adventure—well-plotted, intelligent and deeply moving.

This third mystery novel in a series continues the temporal and spiritual investigations of Detective Inspector Cecilia Cavaliere in Exeter, England.
In Siding Star (2012) and Peacekeeper (2013), Exeter-based DI Cecilia Cavaliere (her parents are Italian) looked into mysteries with supernatural elements, often receiving help from religious figures including Anglican priest Michael Aarons. Now married, Cecilia and Michael have a 3-year-old daughter, a dog and two cats, all comfortably ensconced in a sprawling Victorian rectory. In this third outing, Cecilia is called on to temporarily serve as detective chief inspector while police headquarters are being built for the huge, new United Nations Institute for Technological Experimentation and Development in Edgestow. (Similarities with C.S. Lewis and That Hideous Strength are intentional and acknowledged.) Though somewhat reluctant—the place gives her bad vibes, and she’ll be away for most of three months—Cecilia agrees. When the deaths of some illegal immigrants seem linked to U.N.I.T.E.D., Cecilia and DS Verity Jones head to ask questions at the enormous, heavily guarded steel-and-glass tower. They soon find themselves forced into playing a conscienceless egomaniac’s very dangerous and real computer game based on historical events in Cecilia’s family. As in his earlier volumes, Bryan (Listening to the Bible: The Art of Faithful Biblical Interpretation, 2013, etc.) confronts evil with good in an intelligent, satisfying way, even though the dice are somewhat loaded: For example, the supersmart villains haven’t considered GPS tracking; Cecilia has the advantage of historical knowledge in making her game choices; and supernatural in-game help arrives in the form of Friedrich Spee von Langenfeld, a Jesuit who died in 1635. As with his earlier work, Bryan offers a thoughtful view of faith in daily practice. Worrying about Cecilia, Michael realizes he must instead focus on his duties and commend her to God: “And wasn’t that, after all, the point of all the tough Ignatian spirituality that his guides…had been endeavoring to teach him over the years?” Indeed, tough spirituality is a hallmark of Bryan’s work.
Somewhat slight compared with earlier entries in the series, but another well-written, enjoyable mystery.

Bible, Theology

Christopher Bryan: The Art of Interpreting Scripture in the Church The disengagement of much recent academic biblical study from church and synagogue has been widely noted. Even within the discipline, there are those who suggest it has lost its way. As the discipline now stands, is it mainly concerned with studying and listening to the texts, or with dissecting them in order to examine hypothetical sources or situations or texts that might lie behind them? Christopher Bryan seeks to address scholars and students who do not wish to avoid the challenges of the Enlightenment, but do wish to relate their work to the faith and mission of the people of God. Is such a combination still possible? And if so, how is the task of biblical interpretation to be understood? Bryan traces the history of modern approaches to the Bible, particularly “historical criticism,” noting its strengths and weaknesses, its successes and failures—and notably among its failures, that it has been no more able to protect its practitioners from (in Jowett’s phrase) “bringing to the text what they found there” than were the openly faith-based approaches of earlier generations. Basing his work on a wide knowledge of literature and literary critical theory, and drawing on the insights of the greatest literary critics of the last hundred years, notably Erich Auerbach and George Steiner, Bryan asks, What should be the task of the biblical scholar in the 21st century? Setting the question within this wider context enables Bryan to indicate a series of criteria with which biblical interpreters may do their work, and in the light of which there is no reason why that work cannot relate faithfully to the Church. This does not mean that sound biblical interpretation can ignore the specificity of scientific or historical questions, or dragoon its results into conformity with a set of ecclesial propositions: honest questions honestly asked retain their autonomy. It does mean that in asking those questions, interpreters of the biblical text will not ignore its setting-in-life in the community of faith (which is, as it is for all things, an element in what it is); and they will concede that although textual interpretation has scientific elements, it is finally an exercise in imagination: an art, and not a science.

ISBN: 978-0-19-933659-3
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History, Bible, NT, theology

"...a fine book, readable, closely argued, and assidusously documented. Render to Caesar is a valuable correction of certain forms of political theology, and also of pacifist and other abdications of political responsibility. It is, at the same time, a compelling call for the Church to muster the wisdom and courage to do its public duty." --First Things

ISBN: 0195183347
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New Testament, Bible, Theology

"Bryan offers not only an elegant and erudite exposition of what the NT says about Jesus' resurrection and the good grounds for believing it but also a survey of numerous ancillary areas." --The Catholic Biblical Quarterly

ISBN: 978-0-19-975209-6
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