Patrick: Son of Ireland
A Novel

Stephen R. Lawhead
William Morrow/
Zondervan, 464 pages, $25.95

Stephen Lawhead, prolific author of mythic historical fiction, brews his trademark blend of adventure, romance, and intrigue as he imagines the very different and sometimes abruptly changing phases of St. Patrick's life. Patrick's story unfolds in four stages in an epic saga reminiscent of Lawhead's Celtic Crusades series.

Patrick, who begins life as Succat, appears in A.D. 405 as the decadent young son of a wealthy Welsh nobleman, frittering away his life. Succat falls into grinding slavery after Irish raiders abduct him, but a druid offers him a different life.

After a stint as Corthirthiac, a druid-in-training, Patrick flees Ireland, but not before falling in love. He undergoes a jarring transition to the bloody life of a soldier as Centurion Magonus Succat. A tragedy leaves him broken and pleading, "Lord and God be my Vision and my True Word." The book ends with his taking the name Patricius, once given to him by the monk Pelagius, then returning to Ireland to reunite with his true love and bring Christ to the people.

Lawhead excels in providing vivid historical detail, though he sometimes gives his historical imagination free rein (Patrick never had an Irish girlfriend). The elements of a successful epic—betrayal, love, war, friendship, faith—are in place for those who prefer moderately paced plot and character development. Patrick discovers that there are no lasting riches, satisfying adventures, or true freedom apart from Christ.

Cindy Crosby is a frequent contributor to Publishers Weekly.

Related Elsewhere

Patrick: Son of Ireland is available at

Related articles include:

Meet St. Patrick—Christianity Today International (March 2001)
Did You Know? Fascinating and little-known facts about Celtic ChristianityChristian History (Fall 1998)
The Real St. PatrickChristian History (March 13, 1998)

Find out more about Patrick in CH issue 60: Celtic Christianity.

For more book reviews, see Christianity Today's archives.

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