Son of the Last Martyrs

Son Of The Last Martyrs

5 out of 5 based on 6 customer ratings
(6 customer reviews)

$9.99

Damon’s young life is molded when he sees his parents beheaded by the Romans. He’s determined to follow the harsh road of asceticism to prove that they did not die in vain.

Then he meets Theodora.

It’s an age of turmoil and fanaticism. As soon as Christians are free of Rome’s tyranny, they create their own. Acting like today’s Taliban or ISIS, Christian converts rampage across the empire tearing apart temples and monuments, burning libraries and shrines, closing bathhouses and theaters. Illiterate and unwashed, they eliminate learning, art, science, philosophy, music, and drama.

Interweaving history with a volcanic story of passion, regret, and triumph, Damon recounts the wild decades when Christians, an insignificant and persecuted minority, become the empire. Over the years of their erotic but impossible relationship, Theodora asks Damon six questions, each disturbing the spiritual goals he is so desperate to achieve. He comes to question his life’s work building the Church, all the while trying to shake off his lust for Theodora. He is determined to fight what has become a repressive Church, now persecuting pagans, heretics, and Jews. He is determined to love.

 

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Product Description

“In this imaginative retelling of the debate among Christians in the fourth century, we discover how dangerous it is for Christians to try to please Caesar. This book is as entertaining as it is serious.”
– Stanley Hauerwas, Duke Divinity School

Damon’s young life is molded when he sees his parents beheaded by the Romans. He’s determined to follow the harsh road of asceticism to prove that they did not die in vain.

Then he meets Theodora.

It’s an age of turmoil and fanaticism. As soon as Christians are free of Rome’s tyranny, they create their own. Acting like today’s Taliban or ISIS, Christian converts rampage across the empire tearing apart temples and monuments, burning libraries and shrines, closing bathhouses and theaters. Illiterate and unwashed, they eliminate learning, art, science, philosophy, music, and drama.

Interweaving history with a volcanic story of passion, regret, and triumph, Damon recounts the wild decades when Christians, an insignificant and persecuted minority, become the empire. Over the years of their erotic but impossible relationship, Theodora asks Damon six questions, each disturbing the spiritual goals he is so desperate to achieve. He comes to question his life’s work building the Church, all the while trying to shake off his lust for Theodora. He is determined to fight what has become a repressive Church, now persecuting pagans, heretics, and Jews. He is determined to love.

6 reviews for Son Of The Last Martyrs

  1. 5 out of 5

    :

    I was recommended this book by a friend, and, as a Jew, I was skeptical about reading a book by someone with an Arab name. But a sentence in the first page gripped me: “I should have known that destroying the temples of pagans, Jews, and heretics would be followed by destroying pagans, Jews, and heretics.” I was crying by the time I got to the end of the first chapter, and I cried several times throughout the book. I also laughed a lot. This is a beautiful work, one of the finest, deepest, most loving and most informative books I’ve read. It’s about the past, but really it’s about today.

  2. 5 out of 5

    :

    The author is obviously an expert on this era, which was so important in world history since it shaped the Christian Church. Instead of a history book, this is a tender story told by Damon, a person searching for meaning after he suffered the trauma of seeing his parents beheaded, making them the last Christians executed by the Roman Empire. He swears himself to being holy, becoming a leading scholar who is pivotal at organizing the rapid expansion of Christianity. However, he is a sensitive person, and the Church that he helps form is anything but sensitive.

    Reading this book, I realize that although a lot has changed in our understanding of our place in the universe, how our brains work, etc., we still grapple with the same issues as Damon and his peers. We still have intolerant fundamentalists. We still have spiritual seekers. We still have wars. And we still have the same desire for love and sex. This is a book about us as much as it is about our past. It’s especially relevant now that we have so much religious extremism.

    Damon’s teacher is a stiff, uncompromising fellow who becomes one of the four doctors of the Church. He’s not known very much in the West, but he had a big effect on creating a stiff, uncompromising Church. Although Damon gradually comes to believe the opposite as his teacher, he still respects him. Central to the story is Damon’s relationship with Theodora, who is from a group that would be called heretics. She is wise, courageous, and principled, and he wants her. But when he finally comes to some self-realization, the world has changed. Toward the end of his life, a very repressive Christianity had taken over the Roman Empire, and it ruled absolutely for centuries. We feel that impact on all our lives today.

    I think the author does a wonderful job of telling us the story of how Western civilization evolved without delivering a history lesson. The story of Damon and Theodora mirrors the history, and it’s a beautiful story. There are a few pages of historical notes at the end which I found very interesting. I thought about the book all the time I was reading it. I would go to work and be thinking of the story, and when I finished, it stayed with me for a long time.

  3. 5 out of 5

    :

    This is a very deep subject, the repression of the Christian church and a man’s quest for spiritual life while conflicted about a woman, but the author does it with a lot of humor. The book is lyrical, easy to read. I liked the history side of the book, but it’s part of the story. The author does an excellent job distilling all the history to brief sections of a paragraph or two. Most of the history is contained in the action. The main character, Damon, becomes one of the founders of the Catholic Church as we know it today, but he becomes disgusted by what the faith has become. He and the love of his life Theodora become as conflicted as the church they are building. Eventually all the diverse Christian sects are wiped out and the Church becomes right wing and conservative. It is a story about both history and today. I really liked reading it.

  4. 5 out of 5

    :

    As a Jew, I was skeptical about reading a book by an Arab, but a sentence in the first page gripped me: “I should have known that destroying the temples of pagans, Jews, and heretics would be followed by destroying pagans, Jews, and heretics.” A friend gave me the book with a strong recommendation. I was crying by the time I got to the end of the first chapter, and I cried several times throughout the book. I also laughed a lot. This is a beautiful work, one of the finest, deepest, most loving and informative books I’ve ever read.

  5. 5 out of 5

    :

    I really want to research this era to see what was history and what was the author’s invention. I too received this gift as a present from someone who enjoyed it, and I came on this website to see what else the author wrote. It seems this is much different that his other books. I liked it a lot. It may be about history, but it’s mostly about the meaning of spiritual life. Damon, the central character who relates the story of his life, goes though many manifestations of what’s called the spiritual life. At first he confuses spirituality with religion, and confuses religion with chastity. I was very happy that there is a short historical notes section at the back of the book. The story is vivid: parts are funny; parts are emotional. Would like to know more about the author’s life because he seems to have gone through some of the experiences he describes.

  6. 5 out of 5

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    This book should be mandatory reading for everyone who wants to understand human nature. Although it talks about a certain era in the development of a particular religion, the religion itself does not matter. It is a basic part of our nature to want hard, authoritarian leaders. Look around today. We, many of us, want to be led. I’m sure every religion has this hard-nosed aspect to it. Having said that, this is a love story that continues between the narrator of the story, Damon, and the person he can’t admit to loving, Theodora. Their forbidden relationship goes on for decades, and eventually Damon discovers that she is the only real thing in his life. I wanted to step in many times and tell Damon how stupid he is. I wanted to tell him of the wrong choices in his life. And it got me thinking about the choices I have made.

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