Monday, October 28, 2013

Book Review: The House of Mercy, written by Alicia Roque Ruggeiri

 “Deoradhan found no reply to this in his mouth. He stood before the stone altar, helpless, feeling his heart thud against his ribs. As though a curtain had been pulled away from his mind, he suddenly knew that if he rejected this God now, he would be exiled from Him forever. He would no longer be able to hear the Voice that both drew and repulsed him. Long moments passed. He felt his soul tense and rebel against this Invader.” (pp 256 The House of Mercy)

“Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean; I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols. I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.”

Ezekiel 36:25-26

The House of Mercy is a beautiful, rich novel written by Alicia Roque Ruggeiri. A work of fiction, the novel is one that you won’t want to put down until you have unearthed all of its depths . . . and then you will want to read it all over again . . .

With a raging heart of stone, the main character in Alicia’s novel seeks reparations. Reparations for a past that haunts and goads him to regain what he has lost. Reparations for the death of his father-king to a wicked conqueror, commissioned by King Arthur. Reparations for his mother’s forced marriage to her husband’s murderer.

His soul burning within him, Deoradhan walks restlessly as an exile, waiting for his chance to recover what he believes to have been stolen from him.

Anger churning within his spirit at the Roman God who rendered him such an injustice, Deoradhan bitterly grasps at what has been taken from him, content to die in battle with the God who has wounded him rather than to submit to His authority in Deoradhan’s life and bow the knee before such an imagined unfair Deity.

This novel is woven intricately with plot twists and turns and an unexpected (not a predictable) story-line. Yet, it is utterly satisfying to the reader, a tapestry of justice, honor, love and mercy, ruggedly etched through every page. It is beautifully written, with careful attention to detail and well-researched interweaving of the post-Roman Arthurian time-period in which the story is set.

It is not a “frothy” novel. The themes are raw and real and thought-provoking. Alicia confronts some very weighty issues head-on, without apologizing for the disturbances they may cause to the reader’s psyche. And yet, the theme of the Lord’s mercy so sensitively touches every “hard” providence; His ways may not be easily understood, but His mercies soften the blows of even the most bitter circumstances.

Deoradhan is a man with a past, with an aching heart, and with a soul that struggles against the One who continually draws him and haunts his every step.

His life intertwined with others around him, you will become acquainted with a common peasant girl whose impoverished family sends her away to work at their lord’s manor, a humble potter, a conscience stricken warrior whose past drives him to constant grief, and a lovely servant girl whose life is shattered and broken.

I highly recommend this novel and encourage you to pick up a copy. You will be encouraged and challenged by its contents, and I believe, your heart touched.

The House of Mercy is appropriate for young adult and adult audiences.

It is available through Amazon, Createspace or your local bookstore.  Purchase Here

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