Thursday, March 06, 2008

22. "The Robe" - Lloyd C. Douglas

Marcellus, a Roman tribune, is part of the council that crucifies Jesus. While waiting for the strange man to die, he rolls dice and wins Jesus's robe.

The power of this garment changes Marcellus's life, leading him on a quest for answers to his religious queries. Ultimately, the Robe (as capitalized throughout the novel) causes repercussions when he returns to Rome.

This novel was heavy with philosophical debate, with Marcellus as the inquisitive representative of all humanity. I appreciated that element to the story, but it was the rich detail of slavery and Jewish life that kept my interest.

Curiously, the book begins from the POV of Marcellus's sister, who has no other main role except that of best friend to Diana, the woman Marcellus loves. This is just one example where the writing seemed "off." Douglas was a minister, so that might account for some of the choices he made while creating this work. It also accounts for the heavier hand toward the end of the book - Jesus lives!

For the casual reader, it may prove to be too long to appreciate, but overall it kept my attention. Or it could have been the intoxicating effect of old book smell.

3.5 out of 5.0 Purple Jesus.


Jeane said...

I am glad to read a review about this book. My mother has always had a copy, but I didn't know much about it.

Anonymous said...

One of my favorites! We are doing a book review of The Robe at our next Book Club meeting. I have read it several times over the years. A classic!