Walter Wangerin Jr.
HarperSanFrancisco, 210 pages, $19.95
In this dark and vividly imagined account of Saint Julian, premier storyteller and National Book Award winner Walter Wangerin Jr. (The Book of the Dun Cow) spins a compelling tale of depravity and redemption. Basing his story on the life of Julian in The Golden Legend, a medieval collection of saints' lives and festivals, Wangerin tells this first-person narrative in a formal style.
Julian's birth is shrouded in the miraculous, and as the beloved only son of a wealthy couple he lives a life of privilege. But inwardly a dark lust for killing is brewing. Soon the desire for blood consumes him and he massacres all of the unwary wildlife around his home.
A dying stag curses him, prophesying that Julian will one day murder his own parents. Fearing this possibility, Julian flees the family castle to become the mysterious Red Knight, and to take a wife.
When he falls into suffering, poverty, and utter wretchedness, Julian at last finds redemption through the only one who can offer it.
Cindy Crosby is a frequent contributor to Publishers Weekly.
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