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John Mason Neale

Lucia's Marriage; or, the Lions of Wada-Araba
John Henry & James Parker, 1871


Maudlin, mawkish and melodramatic - this book has all of the above in excess. In the early 3rd Century AD, a family of Christians in Aelia Capitolina is sent into the desert to be eaten by lions. Their oldest girl is not taken, so she joins a troop of soldiers and tries to find them. While each group is wandering, they have various adventures: the youngest daughter is eaten by lions, the oldest falls in love with a young physician. All finally ends well (except for the eaten child, although we are assured that she is in heaven) when the groups meet in Petra, the old Emperor is killed and all Christians are pardoned. This book was dreadful! It's only redeeming value is that it was short (102 pp). The style was reminiscent of medieval Latin fables - "dearest ones, let us give thanks to God." As the British say, "Let's give it a miss!" -Ruth Breindel

- Ruth Breindel , 12/16/2005

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