I know fans of his Circle Series will consider this heresy, but The Priest’s Graveyard is the first book by Ted Dekker that interested me enough to actually read the story. The novel’s premise sets the stage for exploring the relationships between justice, revenge, brokeness, healing and grace. These themes are compelling to me personally, and Dekker’s examination of them was interesting, albeit rather shallow in places.
Parts of the novel were a bit far-fetched, but I normally grant novels in the thriller genre the same amount of leeway that I give action movies in that department–make me care about the characters and sell me on the performance during the chase/fight scenes, and I’ll suspend a certain level of disbelief. Oh, and you also need to make the ending plausible in the sense that it fits with what happened in the rest of the story. This where The Priest’s Graveyard lost me. I just can’t believe that the characters could end up where they ended up and would do what Dekker claims they would do in the last chapter. This bothers me, not just because it makes the book unsatisfying, but because it undermines any moral ground the characters have gained and renders any discussion of justice and grace within the context of the book irrelevant.
What is the difference between justice and revenge? Is it grace or justice that brings real healing to victims of violence? These are important questions for us to wrestle with and good stories are prisms that throw a new light on these subjects, helping us find better answers to the questions. The Priest’s Graveyard offers no such light and as Ted Dekker’s prose was merely average, I can’t really see that there is anything else to be gained from the book.
My Synopsis: Renee Gilmore was rescued from a life on the streets by Lamont Myers. When her “Knight in Shining Armor” is murdered, she becomes obsessed with avenging his death. Danny Hansen is a priest haunted by the murder of his family in Bosnia and compelled to bring to justice those beyond the law’s reach. When their individual pursuits end up focused on the same man, Renee and Danny become unexpected partners. But in this case justice may have a higher price than either of them imagine.
First line: “There is nothing new under the sun, now is there, Renee?”
I would recommend this book to: Anyone who can enjoy a book simply because the name Ted Dekker is on it.
Would I read it again: Probably not.
My personal rating: 2 out of 5