Hi readers. I just finished reading the Priest’s Graveyard by Ted Dekker and thought I’d do a quick review for any who would like to read it. I’ll try not to reveal spoilers, and if I do I’ll warn you 🙂
Okay, so what it is about? Well, if you’re confused by the title and think it’s a haunted graveyard story, you’re wrong. In fact an actual graveyard never makes a single appearance. The Priest’s Graveyard is a metaphorical title. To understand it you need to understand what the story is about.
The story is about injustice. It’s about this priest named Danny Henson who, when he was sixteen, witnessed the death and rape of his sisters and mother. Eventually he shot the soldiers who killed his family, and it was then that he took on the “calling” of killing every sicko out there. Everyone who hurts others, he inflicts those same punishments on them, and at times it gets disturbingly gory.
Meanwhile a lone girl named Renee Gilmore was fleeing in the streets from her captor, Cyrus, who had abused her. To make her life even more dreadful she also had an addiction to heroin.
Soon, a man named Lamont Myers rescues her and takes her in and takes care of her. He helps her grow stronger and escape her addiction with help from other medications and drugs. Eventually they fall in love and marry.
I won’t give away Lamont’s details because it’s a major twist in the end.
Soon Lamont is killed, and Renee makes it her objective to kill the man who killed her lover, Johnathon Bourque. Soon Danny and Renee cross paths and what happens through the remaining pages is an exciting thrill ride with many twists and turns. And yes, Danny and Renee eventually fall in love as he helps her go after Johnathon Bourque.
At the end Danny and Renee realize that everyone is guilty, not only the ones who hurt others. They realize God’s grace and mercy and learn that we shouldn’t judge others. The Scripture that’s echoed throughout is, “Judge not lest thou be judged.” We shouldn’t judge others in our sight and determine who is guilty of death or not, because we all are. So in a nutshell that’s the message and story behind it.
Be warned, this isn’t a book for younger readers. I’ll go through the content on the bottom, it may contain spoilers.
Violence: Lost of disturbing murders done in a horrific way, but it’s not constant. That being said, the times it does come are very shocking and may deter the sensitive readers. For example a man gets cut up in pieces, lots of people are shot, and a man gets his tongue cut off while in a drugged sleep. Yep, pretty disgusting, but it’s all done with very little description.
Language: Since it’s a Christian book cursing is absent. The characters do call others names like idiot, but that’s as far as it goes.
Sex: None in action, lots of past references, and a girl is threatened sexually once. A lot of references to rape and sexual abuse, but it’s only past references and nothing is seen in action. Passionate kissing in multiple scenes.
Drugs: Again, nothing taken in action, but a lot of references to Heroin since the main character was addicted by it.
Overall this obviously isn’t a kids book, so I’d recommend years fifteen and over, and only then with caution. But despite all the violence, this is an amazing book with a great message. Yes, there are evil people who deserve death, but we’re all just as guilty. We all put Jesus on that cross, that’s the worst offence anyone could commit, and yet He did it to save us anyway.