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The Quiet Light: A Novel About Thomas Aquinas [Paperback]

By Louis de Wohl (Author)
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Item description for The Quiet Light: A Novel About Thomas Aquinas by Louis de Wohl...

Louis de Wohl presents a stimulating historical novel about the great St. Thomas, set against the violent background of the Italy during the Crusades. The author weaves an intricate tapestry of love, violence and piety as he brings the saint to life.

Publishers Description
The famous novelist Louis de Wohl presents a stimulating historical novel about the great St. Thomas Aquinas, set against the violent background of the Italy of the Crusades. He tells the intriguing story of St. Thomas who - by taking a vow of poverty and joining the Dominicans - defied his illustrious, prominent family's ambition for him to have great power in the Church.
The battles and Crusades of the 13th century and the ruthlessness of the excommunicated Emperor Frederick II play a big part in the story, but it is Thomas of Aquino who dominates this book. De Wohl succeeds notably in portraying the exceptional quality of this man, a fusion of mighty intellect and childlike simplicity. A pupil of St. Albert the Great, the humble Thomas - through an intense life of study, writing, prayer, preaching and contemplation - ironically rose to become the influential figure of his age, and he later was proclaimed by the Church as the Angelic Doctor.

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Item Specifications...

Studio: Ignatius Press
Pages   377
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8" Width: 5.2" Height: 1.1"
Weight:   0.9 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Oct 1, 1996
Publisher   Ignatius Press
Edition  Revised  
ISBN  0898705959  
ISBN13  9780898705959  
UPC  008987059592  

Availability  1 units.
Availability accurate as of Oct 23, 2016 08:03.
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More About Louis de Wohl

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Louis de Wohl wrote numerous historical novels for adults, including "The Living Wood", which is also about St. Helena and Constantine. He earned international acclaim for The Spear, and among his other popular titles are "Lay Siege to Heaven, The Restless Flame, The Joyful Beggar "and "The Quiet Light."

Louis de Wohl was born in 1903 and died in 1961.

Louis de Wohl has published or released items in the following series...
  1. Vision Books

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Biographies & Memoirs > General
2Books > Subjects > Biographies & Memoirs
3Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > Genre Fiction > Historical
4Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > World Literature > British
5Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Fiction & Poetry > Fiction
6Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Fiction > General
7Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Fiction

Christian Product Categories
Books > Church & Ministry > Church Life > Roman Catholic

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Reviews - What do customers think about The Quiet Light: A Novel About Thomas Aquinas?

A Pleasant Surprise!  Feb 23, 2008
I concur completely with the comments of the previous reviewer. I didn't know what to expect with this kind of novel, but the writing, character development, and story pacing were superb. It was very easy to visualize actually being there as events unfolded-a very engaging read. I definitely recommend this book, and I intend to add other De Wohl books to my reading list. Perhaps his novels should be perused anew by Hollywood film producers!
The Quiet Light - St. Thomas Aquinas  Oct 14, 2007
A great novel! Portrays the life of St.Thomas Aquinas, one of the most influential scholars in the Catholic church. Extremely well done! It helps a great deal with understanding the historical background of the 13th century. A book worth reading for readers of all ages!
Pleasing, exciting, inspiring, informative historical fiction  May 29, 2007
This Catholic historical novel, published in 1950, has proven a delightful surprise. Although a great reader of historical fiction of all types and vintages, I confess I ordered this book with trepidation, expecting that any sort of religious fiction, consciously marketed as such, might be too sentimental to suit my taste. On the contrary, The Quiet Light is a terrific example of most of the finest conventions in historical fiction: exciting, witty, often stylish, capable of piquing one's interest in the period and its leading figures. It's not at all interested in preaching to its reader, choosing instead to engage his or her attention in the conflicts of the period, whether physical, intellectual or spiritual.

De Wohl apparently wrote many novels about Catholic saints. I chose this one because of St. Thomas's special significance to me, as the patron of scholars. Like the best historical fiction, it not only excites and delights me in its trappings and makes me want to read more, but also led me to investigate the personages and events of the day, to see how well the fictional and historical have been woven. The novel remained at a high standard of quality throughout and was on occasion both moving and exciting. About the only things I can say against it is that it takes an unflinchingly anti-Muslim slant (perhaps not that unusual for a 1950 Catholic novel) and it falls prey occasionally to heavy handed dialogue--not stilted but heavy on exposition. But given the wide scope of the novel, De Wohl is actually pretty subtle at getting the historical essentials across as smoothly as possible.

The novel's somewhat peripheral treatment of St. Thomas is surprising at first, but then begins to make sense as his full story emerges. Thomas spends his days writing, teaching, thinking and praying, while Italy and his family are being torn to pieces around him. The main focus of the story is on political situations, then, (mainly the conflict between Emperor Fredrick II and Rome) which Thomas informs, inspires, and illuminates when the main characters seek him out, but which he only tangentially affects himself. That De Wohl is so capable at evoking this complicated political situation, that he can do so without resorting to tired genre clichés, is the really delightful thing about the novel.

Some brief mention of the people and places this novel manages to take on, within its 377 pages. Historical persons featured as characters include Thomas and Frederick of course, but also the following: Albert the Great (Albertus Magnus), one of Thomas's teachers; the Emperor's sons Manfred and Conrad, each of whom eventually become kings; Edward I; St. Louis of France; William of St. Amour, who writes a treatise against the mendicant orders which Thomas challenges; St. Bonaventure, claimed to be the heart of the Franciscans as Thomas is the heart of the Dominicans; John of Procida, a physician in Frederick II's service--at least I think he's historical; and Roger Bacon. Many other historical persons figure in the novel but aren't characters, including Popes Alexander IV, Urban IV, and Clement IV.

As for place, The Quiet Light roams around Italy quite a bit: Monte Cassino, the monastery; the University of Naples; Parma; Rocca Secca and other homes of the Aquino families. Paris also is visited, mainly Notre Dame and the Convent of St. Jacques. One scene of the crusades (mostly a backdrop for the novel) takes place at El Mohar, which I take to be in North Africa.

A really delightful surprise--probably would make a great gift too! I'm definitely ready for more De Wohl soon.

De Wohl: A Sustained Light of Genius...  Nov 28, 2001
I could not have been older than 12 when I first read Louis De Wohl's THE QUIET LIGHT.

It was certainly not a children's book. Instead, it was the passed-along gift of an aunt --fittingly, a Daughter of Charity who in those days sported the intimidating wings that Sally Field would later demystify for me-- and one of the many books on a wide range of genres and topics she carried on long train rides from El Paso to St. Louis.

THE QUIET LIGHT also was, I believe, instrumental in sparking my earliest desire to write my own novels.

And that is surprising, because De Wohl's narrative, character development, and spellbinding prose made THE QUIET LIGHT much more than the fictionalized biography of Thomas Aquinas I had expected. It was nothing less than a staggering example of compelling storytelling which, by the sheer enormity of talent displayed, should have intimidated any aspiring/wanna-be writer.

Be advised: you will come away from THE QUIET LIGHT with more than the pleasure of having read a masterly crafted novel of the Middle Ages. Rather, you will find yourself informed and educated on everything from the Crusades to the philosopical infighting then being waged throughout both Europe and the Saracen worlds to the intrigues of the Italian nobility and their Germanic, decidedly unholy Holy Roman Emperor. You will marvel at how De Wohl weaves all this into a story that is filled with richly drawn characters, both historical and fictional.

By the end of THE QUIET LIGHT, you may even discover you have learned something about how to tell a story in a way that makes the reader mourn that he or she has reached the end of the book.

THE QUIET LIGHT is that good. So is Louis De Wohl.

--Earl Merkel
(Author of FLU SEASON and LIKE DISTANT CITIES BURNING, Penguin/Putnam's New American Library; both books are due out in Summer 2001).

Excellent book  Jul 9, 2000
An excellent book about the life and times of a great saint. It would be hard to estimate the spiritual fruit which this man's intellect has produced. The Catholic Church as well as intellectual life in general has benifited much from his life and writings. This is a well written book and hard to put down. I gave it four stars, however, because it is a novel more about the historical situation of the saint than the saint himself. Although the book did try and speculate about the some of the motivations of the saint, it failed to tackle his philosophy. Nevertheless, the book is sure to inspire further readings, especially into Thomas' own writings.

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