Tuesday, January 8, 2002

The Winds of God: Queen Elizabeth and the Spanish Armada

Christian Historical Fiction readers will enjoy Gilbert Morris' series, 'The Wakefield Dynasty', which covers four centuries of English history in the seven book series. The second book, The Winds of God, continues the story of the Wakefield family in 16th century England.

Through Myles and Robin, the reader meets many historical figures, including Queen Mary, Queen Elizabeth, Mary Queen of Scots, and Sir Francis Walsingham. Interesting historical details include the attempted coup to place Lady Jane Grey on the throne instead of Mary; also Mary's Catholic ambitions, marriage to Philip of Spain, and her jealousy of half-sister Elizabeth. Later years of the story bring forth Elizabeth's flamboyant personality and her eccentricities. The reader learns of Elizabeth's belief in the Divine Right of Kings, a belief held so strongly that she protected Mary the ex-Queen of Scots for many years. The ever-ambitious and treacherous Mary Queen of Scots continually plots against Elizabeth. The dark, seductive side of Mary is exposed to Robin, who like most men finds her hard to resist, at least while in her presence.

Historical fiction readers will appreciate the realistic characters. Though The Winds of God includes a few strong female characters, including Queen Elizabeth herself, sixteenth century society still rules. Far from being mere transplants from the late-twentieth century, the women behave within the bounds of their time. For example, when English Catholic parents arrange a marriage for their daughter to a wealthy older Spanish man, the girl quietly obeys her parents. Though desperately unhappy and in love with an English man, her options are limited. The marriage turns out to have serious problems, yet the young woman honors her marriage commitment before God.

Gilbert Morris, the most prolific of today's Christian historical fiction writers, brings an exciting tale of this important transitional time in England's history: a time of turning from Catholicism to Protestantism; when great military events brought about a change in world power, from Spain to the dawning empire of Great Britain. Yet it is also a story about compassion and forgiveness as seen through Robin Wakefield. The Catholic system and the Spanish Inquisition are to be reviled, but the people of Spain are ordinary, down-to-earth people with hopes, ambitions, and families of their own. Robin's discovery of this, and his hope in a God of compassion, who does not delight in the death of the wicked, brings the Wakefield family back to its proper focus. As with the first book, The Sword of Truth, this second book in the Wakefield Dynasty series is another enlightening and uplifting historical fiction novel.

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