Cardinal John Henry Newman (1801-1890)
Callista; A Tale of the Third Century
[First published, 1855]
A story of Christians and pagans, set in Roman North Africa in the third century. A young woman, Callista arrives from Greece with her brother. She finds herself strangely drawn towards Christianity, despite a wave of persecution.
“The novel was commissioned as a sort of "prequel" to Fabiola by Cardinal Nicholas Wiseman, published a year earlier. It draws both from the parallels between ancient Roman society and the still lingering persecution of and prejudices against Roman Catholics in the Britain of the time and from Newman's own experiences as a convert. The novel also deals with questions of integrity and determination, even in the face of death. Most of its characters are at the same time ambiguous and troubled ones, who have to make a choice for or against the Christian faith in the course of the story.”
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