1. The Count of Monte Cristo, By Alexandre Dumas
A young sailor, about to marry his true love and become captain of a ship, is ruined by a trio of ambitious men without morals. Emerging from prison years later, he finds his fiancé has married someone else, his father has starved to death, and those who ruined him are wealthy and powerful. Disguised as the wealthy, mysterious Count of Monte Cristo, he cleverly causes his enemies to destroy themselves. Unfortunately, he goes too far, and is disillusioned of his pretensions to be God’s representative. This novel shows both that pride is dangerous, and that sin will ultimately destroy you. It gets a bit intricate in the middle, but anyone capable of pulling through Pride and Prejudice can make it through this as well.
2.Tom Playfair, Percy Wynn, and Harry Dee, By Father Francis Finn
A charming trilogy, detailing the adventures of a trio of boys at a Catholic boarding school. The moral lessons of this one are easy to see, but it’s not a sermon! Many thanks to the reader who reminded me of these wonderful books.
3. The Man who was Thursday, By G.K. Chesterton
Poet and philosopher Gabriel Syme, after joining the police, infiltrates the Anarchists grand council. (The closest thing I can think of to the Anarchists in our day is Al-Qaeda, if that helps.) Determined to prevent their assassination plot, he goes through dozens of twists and turns on a surreal roller-coaster. A very odd twist ending, which I won’t spoil!
4. The Silmarillion, J.R.R. Tolkien
A strong case can be made for this to be a more modern day epic in league with Shakespeare, Beowulf, the Iliad, and the Odyssey….and written by a good Catholic to top it off! Strongly allegorical to the spiritual life, this book is a must read! In some ways unfinished, it has a lot less dialogue than many of Tolkien’s other books. Also, you must be able to deal with foreign sounding names.
5. Father Elijah, By Michael O’Brien
About the apocalypse, this end times novel is about the struggle of a Catholic priest with the Anti-Christ. A chilling novel, especially given the state of the world today. Kudos to the reader who suggested it!
6. Angels in Iron, Nicholas C. Prata
Although this book will undoubtedly appeal to young men more than young women, I believe it a good novel for all to read. A historical fiction novel, it mainly focuses on three young knights during the siege of Malta. A pre-curser to the battle of Lepanto, the siege of Malta was a stunning defeat for the Turks, who outnumbered the Christians more than five to one with superior supplies and training. Although the book can get a little gory at times, it’s extremely inspiring, and covers an important part of our Catholic legacy.
By Henry B.