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It is ten years since The Gates of Aulis introduced a new writer to the public- a public a bit confused by the acclaim attendant on a book which spoke so unduly frankly of abnormalities and perversions of sex. It is six years since David the King which showed a maturity, a grasp of historical research and interpretation, a creative approach to traditional material. Now comes Confessors of the Name, again different, for- while it is a novel steeped in Biblical tradition, it is wholly independent of Scriptural text. It is the story of a man's struggle to find himself in the turmoil of a decadent civilization, and of his alignment at the end with those Christians who were being sacrificed in the arenas of the Roman Empire to the fears, rather than the lusts, of the insecure Emperor, Decius. The time is 250 A.D. Gladys has recreated a sense of period and a world in conflict, a sense of a determined but superficial clinging to tarnished beliefs in opposition to the groping but valiant burning faith of the ""confessors of the name"", the early Christians. Favorinus, nephew of the Emperor and the man who molded his thoughts into speeches for his uncle, falls out of favor because he is discovered to be involved with a Christian household. His Greek mistress has quarreled with him; he has felt the hollowness of her way of life. His Christian kinswoman, Paulina, is finding guilty joy in her secret love for him, and it is in seeking to stem persecution which will involve Paulina and her husband, that Favorinus, too, falls under the ban. Not an historical novel in the ordinary sense. but one that restores a sense of repeating patterns of history. Not easy reading- at times the interest flags, the text seems overlong. But in the main worth while- and due for extra publicity as November choice of the Literary Guild.

Pub Date: Oct. 23rd, 1952
Publisher: Dial