A novel by James R. Olson
Writers Club Press - imprint of iUniverse, Inc.
ISBN: 0-595-25930-8 (pbk)
ISBN: 0-595-65443-6 (cloth)
Review by Ted L Glines
The San Jose mission of this story is in Arizona. It is San Jose de Tumacacori which is located 50 miles or so south of Tucson, and was founded about 1691. It was abandoned in 1840 and today is a ruin under the protection of the historical society. It is generally referred to as Tumacacori, but Olson knew it would be easier on the average reader if he just called it San Jose.
James R. Olson brings Dom Bernardo, a young and inexperienced monk, from his home monastery in Spain, across the sea and through jungles to Peru, and thence north to the mission at San Jose. This passage of time and geography draws the reader quickly forward as an adventurous introduction to real life on the frontiers of New Spain where Bernardo will find his faith sternly tested on the crucible of church/military politics.
It is from San Jose that Dom Bernardo embarks on his real mission by being first captured and enslaved by raiding Apaches. From this point forward, Bernardo's accomplishments comprise an epic journey of faith, a story so well told by Olson that you will not be able to put this novel down.
Though this work is categorized as historical fiction, Olson brings an easy feeling of reality to the life and times of this Spanish monk in the mountains of the Apaches, where religious ideologies may only mix on the surface in a land where God speaks in the many tongues of nature. Exceptionally well written, Brother should be a must-read for every student of early American cultures, or, for that matter, anyone who enjoys a top-notch tale.
Available on Amazon.com
Review published 23 December 2008 on the BooksByOlson Website.