a trip worth taking
Lost Mission is vintage Athol Dickson. In his new release, the ultimate storyteller invites us to join him as he spins a tale of grand visions and dismal failures. Four people, sensing a compulsion to do something great for God, learn greatness is not something God calls any of us to; transparency and faithfulness are.
Our story begins with a Benedictine priest in the late 1700’s and his quest to do a work for God in the new world of California. As his life nears its end in seeming abject failure the priest creates an object of devotion that will remain locked away for 250 years. Thus, in modern day Mexico, a woman of deep faith is given the object to carry with her on her quest to tell all those in America about her Savior. Lupe’s wanderings bring her into contact with a young seminary graduate seeking his own vision in the Arizona desert and a billionaire convinced of his own righteousness and faithfulness to God.
The twist in Lost Mission is in identifying the heroes and villains. Lupe’ is the purest of the four but even she has to enter the States illegally to pursue her vision. The billionaire seems the worst but he is driven by grief more than hatred. The seminary graduate is willing to forsake all to follow his vision yet becomes a thief to fulfill it. It is in the priest’s burden, as Lupe calls the object she carries, that we discover the true nature of these four people. Be forewarned, if you allow yourself to peer into the burden Lupe’ carries you will see yourself as well. I did.
Lost Mission is reminiscent of Dickson’s earlier work, River Rising. The prose are powerful and the story has depth. This is a parable told on a grand scale yet with intensely personal implications. Every chapter begins with events that led to the demise of a Spanish mission in 1767 but quickly segues to the lives of the three modern day believers. Dickson’s method of scene shifting is unique. Though it may take a few chapters to grow accustomed to it, you will soon see the power of his method.
If you’re planning on a quick afternoon read, this is not the book for you. Some novels are like freeways. When you need to get somewhere in a hurry, they are the way to go. Dickson’s works are more like an old state highway that passes through every little town along the way. Here you see and experience all the great characters and places you would have missed had you not come this way. Believe me it’s a trip worth the time.
Some questions for the author:
I’m going to offer a couple of quotes from my review of Lost Mission and then ask you to respond from your viewpoint.
The twist in Lost Mission is in identifying the heroes and villains. Lupe’ is the purest of the four but even she has to enter the States illegally to pursue her vision. The billionaire seems the worst but he is driven by grief more than hatred. The seminary graduate is willing to forsake all to follow his vision yet becomes a thief to fulfill it. It is in the priest’s burden, as Lupe calls the object she carries, that we discover the true nature of these four people.
Athol Dickson: As I mentioned a moment ago, Lost Mission explores the fact that people who start out in very different places, believing very different things, can move along trajectories that they are convinced were established by God, and arrive at exactly the same sins. This is common to us all. Everyone can be a hero or a villain. Most of us—maybe all of us—have been both at different times. Often, one seems to lead directly to the other. We take pride in our humility. We destroy the truth by defending it. We commit hypocrisy by condemning hypocrites. There are countless ways. So in Lost Mission, I didn’t want any absolute heroes or absolute villains. It’s the story of seven people who are all fighting the good fight, sometimes losing, and sometimes winning.
This entry was posted on Sunday, January 31st, 2010 at 4:19 pm and is filed under Book Reviews. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.
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