Item description for Madman: A Novel by Tracy Groot...
Overview From the author of "The Brother's Keeper" comes a tale of mystery, horror, and hope in the midst of unimaginable darkness, the story behind the Geresene demoniac of the gospels of Mark and Luke. (Social Issues)
Publishers Description If there is a way into madness, logic says there is a way out. Logic says. Tallis, a philosopher's servant, is sent to a Greek academy in Palestine only to discover that it has silently, ominously, disappeared. No one will tell him what happened, but he learns what has become of four of its scholars. One was murdered. One committed suicide. One worships in the temple of Dionysus. And one … one is a madman. From the author of The Brother's Keeper comes a tale of mystery, horror, and hope in the midst of unimaginable darkness, the story behind the Geresene demoniac of the gospels of Mark and Luke.
From Publishers Weekly Groot's well-paced, beautifully written historical novel begins in the tombs
of Kursi in Palestine on the Sea of Galilee. The story focuses on Tallis, an
Athenian servant and scholar who has come to Hippos to learn about the fate of
a Socratic academy his master has assembled and bankrolled. As he pieces
together cryptic, horrifying details of the academy's dissolution, Tallis
finds himself drawn to the owners and staff of the inn where he is a guest.
Groot reveals the secrets of the lost academy as well as those of the
innkeepers gradually and with virtually no contrivance. Important moments,
such as the attempted rescue of a little boy, unfold with understated
suspense, which is a delightful departure from the typically tedious,
telegraphed and overplayed plot turns in the bulk of contemporary faith-based
thrillers. Perhaps most gratifying about the novel is its subtle Christian
message; all but the last few pages take place during Jesus' ministry but
before the characters have encountered him. Groot depicts these characters as
good souls hungering for a greater good with which they might fight the almost
overpowering evil forces sucking the life out of their community. Jesus'
miraculous entry into their lives provides a satisfying and believable
conclusion to this entertaining and compelling book. (Apr.) Copyright 2006
Reed Business Information.
Awards and Recognitions Madman: A Novel by Tracy Groot has received the following awards and recognitions -
Hi. I’m Tracy Groot. I like bullet points.
- I was born, raised, and live near Grand Rapids, Michigan.
- Michigan’s Upper Peninsula is my favorite place on earth because of the Mackinac Straits, the fish and chips at Brown’s Fishery, and backpacking the Porcupine Mountains with my family. (Whoever called them mountains never made it to Colorado.)
- I have no greater joy than to come across a Calvin and Hobbes cartoon I haven’t read.
- My husband Jack and I have three sons and a daughter-in-law. They are most excellent.
- Reading and writing is just about tied with Jesus as a first love. Jesus wins.
- I watch a lot of movies and TV shows. I don’t mind, though.
- I have a sweet tooth I am pledged to keep happy.
- I’m a Lions fan.
- I knit.
- I’m allergic to kiwifruit. There are worse things.
- That’s pretty much it.
The "Official Blurb".
Tracy Groot is the critically acclaimed and Christy Award-winning author of several works of historical fiction. Her books have received starred Booklist and Publishers Weekly reviews and have been called "beautifully written" and "page-turning" by Publishers Weekly, and "gripping" with "exquisitely drawn" characters by Library Journal.
Tracy and her husband have three sons (and a daughter-in-law) and together own a coffee shop in Holland, Michigan.
Discover more about this artisan including their full list of products!
Reviews - What do customers think about Madman: A Novel?
Great Idea For A Novel, Written Well Dec 3, 2006
A demon possessed man feared by an entire village comes into direct contact with Truth, something new both to the man and also to the people from his geographical area. The story is found twice in the Bible, recollected by two of Jesus' followers: Mark and Luke. The biblical narrative provides good opportunity for some great `blank-filling,' which the author took advantage of. This novel is packed full of interesting information about ancient Greek culture. Reflecting the Greek culture, there is also a lot of philosophy about life, death and the spiritual realm. The story was fascinating. It was such a page turner that it only took me about two nights and one plane ride to finish it.
Captivating... Sep 18, 2006
I couldn't put this book down! Accurate and compelling - it drove me to the Bible to read the account again, and I was amazed at what I'd missed in my previous reading of the account. I read this as a part of the Midday Connection bookclub.
Escape to Another Realm Jul 22, 2006
This novel reminded me of Robinson's GILEAD-- in its drifting pace, its nuanced language, and its everyday quality. I felt, quite simply, like I was living in another time, beside old friends... and I was not in a hurry to let them go.
On the down side, I was occasionally propelled back to the present day through dialog that was a bit too modern. Overall, however, Groot's handling of exchanges was extremely natural, seamless, even brilliant. She also managed to sculpt a fascinating historical backdrop through the characters' words, actions, and observations (rather than through lengthy author-driven descriptions).
Mostly, I enjoyed watching Groot face the challenge of telling a story whose end we already know. After all, we remember that the demoniac is delivered. What we don't know is how that played out in his own pysche and the collective mind of a community that must have slowly spent itself on a person beyond reach. This is where Groot shines brightest... in exploring the inner realms of the demoniac and those around him. Because Groot explores these realms so successfully, I will have to remind myself again and again that this was just a novel-- one woman's plausible yet fictional sketch of a dramatic biblical event.
Definitely worth the read!
Madman-A story of hope and redemption Apr 20, 2006
Tallis arrives in ancient Palestine, a "scorched puck of a province" to find out what has happened to the Academy of Socrates, a school funded by his employer, the Greek philosopher Callimachus. What he finds is. . . nothing. No school, no teachers and no pupils. The school disbanded three years ago and the pupils are scattered. Out of a faculty of ten, six teachers have vanished. Of the remaining four, one was murdered, one committed suicide, a female teacher has become a priestess for the ancient god Dionysus and the last is a madman, living in the Gerasene tombs.
As Tallis digs deeper for answers he is drawn into a nightmare from his childhood. The horrors he witnessed at the hands of the Maenads will be repeated in the near future unless he finds a way to stop the madness. And stop it he must, or someone close to him will die.
Tracy Groot does an excellent job entering the mind of the demonic and showing the reader his torment. Her extensive research is also evident and does a good job at drawing the reader into the world of ancient Palestine. At times, this world is jarred by the use of modern jargon. The reader may also stumble over some of the ancient terminology used. The context in which such words are used isn't always clear.
But those are only slight bumps in a book that does an excellent job weaving a story of evil and love, repression and redemption.
Intrigue set in Bible times Apr 3, 2006
Based on the story of Legion, the demon possessed man in Mark 5:1-20, Madman is the picture of true torture and rape of the mind painted with the literary brushes of Tracy Groot. Whereas the descriptions of her characters are very well done, her descriptions of madness are absolutely excellent. She draws the reader into the story and makes everything, even things the characters in the novel suspect to be fantasy, seem real.
The main character Tallis, a philosopher's servant from Athens, travels to Palestine to uncover the truth about a school of Socrates' that silently disappeared without warning. At first no one seems to know what he's talking about, even though the school was supposed to have existed for the past eight years. After finally managing to pry information from one of many locked mouths, he discovers that the school's teachers are the source of the vanishing-one was murdered, one committed suicide, six are missing or in hiding, one is a high priestess in the temple of Dionysus, and one is completely and violently mad. Tallis struggles throughout the book as he fights for the truth no one wants to hear. But his weakness of mind makes it more difficult when he realizes that the only way to find the truth and to set things right is to somehow take the chaos out of the madman...which might put it into himself.
Madman is a well-written book. It captures the intrigue of the reader as he tries to put the pieces of the mystery together and holds in rapt attention. Groot succeeds at telling a Bible story from a non-believer's point of view without ending the novel on a cheesy note, which she should be praised for. She creates poignant descriptions of her characters and settings, especially in her descriptions of evil. It is also quite clear that Groot did her homework before she wrote about the worship of Dionysus, the everyday acts of the people living in Palestine, and the afflictions of madness, among other things.
However, this attention to detail can also be viewed as a weakness, when too much research is included in the novel. At times it is essential, either to get the story's facts correct or to help the reader understand something he or she has never heard of before, but there are several times it's distracting. It also makes the novel a heavy tome for the average reader, rather than one to read for entertainment or escape.
The only other faults, which seem minor in light of her otherwise talented writing, are that she flips back and forth between different characters' points of view with very little warning, and that occasionally the speech of the characters sounds a bit too modern.
Madman is highly recommended to those who have a keen interest in Greek mythology, philosophy, psychology, historical fiction from about 30 A.D. in Greece and Palestine, or spiritual warfare. The book is recommended in general to those in upper high school and older, who are avid readers, who won't be scared away by slightly heavier material, and who also enjoy mysteries. - April Selander, Christian Book Previews.com