Author Brian Patrick Mitchell

Mitchell Brian

Author Brian Patrick Mitchell is a former soldier and journalist, the author of several nonfiction books and scholarly articles on politics and religion, and a protodeacon of the Russian Orthodox Church. He and his wife have three grown children and live in Alexandria, Virginia.

Asked to share some of his thoughts regarding his motivation for writing the novel and the process he used in writing it, Fr. Patrick replied:

“Much of the book is set in the ancient city of Sinop, Turkey, where I was stationed while in the Army in the 1980’s. Sinop is where I saw my first Orthodox church, a ruin from the 6th century, in a farmer’s field, overgrown with weeds in the summertime. The vault of the church was still covered with frescoes from the 13th century. They were beautiful, and it was that beauty that inspired my search for the Orthodox Church.

“I was also moved by well-documented accounts of the trials of early martyrs. The Romans often had stenographers take down what was said at trial, and some of their transcripts were used in writing the lives of the saints. I used Giuseppe Ricciotti’s The Age of Martyrs as a source for the trials dramatized in the novel, so what my characters say is about what real martyrs said, and it’s quite revealing. The book is mainly about martyrdom, which is not just in our past, but in our future. The title is from James 1:12: ‘Blessed is the man that endureth temptation, for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love Him’ (cf. Rev. 2:10).”