I’ve been waiting for St. Patrick’s Day to post my review of Stephen R. Lawhead’s Patrick, Son of Ireland. To begin with, Patrick is a fictional imagining of the life of St. Patrick and explanation of the four names he was given at various points. I’ve read several reviews where the story was picked apart and disliked because of the historical inaccuracies it has compared to what is known of Patrick’s life. Patrick is fiction, of course everything is not going to be true, otherwise it would be a biography. Keep this in mind when you read it. It is a great story that keeps you turning pages to see how Patrick survives the difficult situations in which he finds himself.
As a spoiled, young, Welsh nobleman’s son, Succat Morgannwg is enslaved by the Irish in a raid when he was sixteen. Determined to return home, Succat somehow manages to keep his spirit alive throughout escape attempts and the resulting beatings. He even falls in love with an Irish woman, whose druid brother saves his life and brings him to live with the druids. Deciding to become a druid in order to get his freedom, he takes the druid teachings to heart, finding many similarities between them and the teachings of his grandfather, a priest. Succat’s journey’s take him war ravaged Gaul, imperial Rome, and finally back to Ireland, where he finds his destiny. Each portion of his life under the names Succat, Corthirthiac, Magonus, and Patricius is filled with wonder, loss, and learning.
I loved Stephen R. Lawhead’s take on St. Patrick’s life. His suffering and losses made me cry in sympathy and hope for his later happiness. Lawhead’s writing makes history seem to come to life. Along with Patrick, I recommend his King Raven trilogy: Hood, Scarlet, and Tuck, set in Wales in the time of William the Conquerer, based on the Robin Hood legend.
Happy St. Patrick’s Day! And happy reading! Don’t forget to wear green.