Honor in the Dust
Howard (Simon & Schuster), Aug 2009, $13.99
As he struggles with achieving acceptability and affluence amidst the aristocracy, Stuart Winslow adheres to his vow to never do what his father did. Stuart loves his mom, but his dad chose her and abject poverty over his aristocratic family’s wealth; his steadfast goal is to obtain what his father threw away. He works hard at weapons design and shows a natural propensity for falconry. These two skills obtain him a position in the court of King Henry VIII. Stuart feels great that he achieves the first step in his strategic life plan. However, he finds the court frighteningly wicked and enticingly tempting as vice is the norm; he also learns the hard way to trust no one as backstabbing is the other norm.
William Tyndale proclaims for all to hear that he will translate the Bible from Latin into the language of the commoner. Henry VIII declares that is heresy, arrests William and sentences him to death. Anyone who speaks out for William, his project or against his sentence will also be executed. Stuart finds himself in a dilemma as he believes in William’s project that will bring Jesus to the masses. If he chooses the King’s world as represented by Nell his soul will probably die; if he chooses William’s world as represented by Heather; his life will probably end.
Over several decades mostly in the early sixteenth century, Gilbert Morris compares the overindulgences of the materialistic Tudors starting with the monarch and the courageous pious actions of those who risk their lives for their beliefs like real person William. Thus Stuart desires to be accepted by the former as one of them though he disdains their behavior and admires the latter. Fans will enjoy this well written historical drama as Mr. Morris captures the essence of the era of the first Tudor monarch while inspiring his audience to not let material desires for more than one needs supersede faith.