Day of the Labyrinth, The
Embodied love meets empire in a fantastic history of friends and companions of Constantine the Great.
For readers age 9 to 90, this fast-moving adventure novel tracks the fantastic history of a diverse group of companions in their attempt to subvert the Roman Empire with justice and love. Grappling with the realities of war, violence and selfish ambition as they interface with peace, friendship and belonging, it investigates the potential of love as an alternative way of being.
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For readers age 9 to 90, this fast-moving adventure novel tracks the fantastic history of a diverse group of companions in their attempt to subvert the Roman Empire with justice and love. Grappling with the realities of war, violence and selfish ambition as they interface with peace, friendship and belonging, it investigates the potential of love as an alternative way of being. In what is a truly fascinating, wholly engrossing and thoroughly captivating labyrinth into which we instantly find ourselves enraptured by, the story, amongst other things, superbly, and in some cases, diligently reflects the themes of the theological, philosophical, historical and political substances either on show or being examined. Sure there are numerous moments where the reader finds themselves a little waylaid within the passionate research given to the defined understanding of the inextricable cogs between the church and all forms of empire, but if you allow yourself the time to embrace such prose, you will soon become accustomed to its dedication to a source (which leads to a smoother reading and understanding as you then progress). Not just a story that brings for an historical narrative that bores and snores its way off the pages, yet one that takes the time to translate the subjects that obviously have fascinated the author for the longest of time. That means we get allowed a more genuinely proposed access to these subjects which are at the heart of the work of the Holy Spirit. Inclusive of back and forth’s that diligently link the Roman Empire to Turkey and Scotland, and all through the aforementioned blind Seer from the turn of the 4th century, sure the book is historical fiction, but my goodness, the culture clashes combined with, at times, angst-ridden family relationships, fall all too close to a reality I myself already inhabit! And that alone made reading this book a must-have for me, if only to discover if the Angels and Beatrice could bring forth a a genuine sense of connected reality for me to spiritually traverse, and thus could lead to dinner time debates - instead of quietness, glowing screens or just arguments round here. [Spoiler: It actually did and still doessanitize_seed_7p7u7nk9p0kk08gwko8gg08o4!sanitize_seed_7p7u7nk9p0kk08gwko8gg08o4]sanitize_seed_7p7u7nk9p0kk08gwko8gg08o4 ~ Exclusive Magazine, https://annecarlini.com/ex_books.php?id=602
“I journeyed with the various characters back and forth across the Roman Empire from Turkey to Scotland over the lifetime of the eponymous blind seer at the turn of the 4th century, keen to find out where they would end up next and what would happen to them. All along there were familiar names and half remembered historical touch points from my own life’s journeys which has kept me continually wondering “Really?” and “What if …?” long after finishing the novel. The story entertains, informs and challenges and – perhaps most importantly – re-awakens us to the fantastic opportunities that are still before us as options for a better world today.” Tim F Nash, Linguist and China consultant. ~ Tim Nash, Linguist and China consultant, Roger Haydon Mitchell
'Warning! This book might be historical fiction but it has an innate ability to get under your skin and leave you grappling with which of the various characters you are in the present and how you will become the one(s) you should be in the future.' ~ GF: An enthusiastic UK reader, Roger Haydon Mitchell
Both the story and the writing are really enjoyable. The author describes well and the action flows. The characters are accessible and there is an ongoing challenge for the reader in the threats of both culture clash and family relationships. The blindness and dreams together give it a quality of fantasy similar to Madeleine l’Engle’s books particularly as the main character is a young female. I like the way you depict children like l’Engle does and C S Lewis did in the Narnia Chronicles. ~ Jane Schofield-Almond, history teacher and publisher
Wow! What an amazing novel you have written! I totally loved it! It’s a great story, great theology and the way it shows the thrill and adventure of learning to follow love profoundly, no matter what personal risk and material loss it brings is inspiring. The strong sense of belonging that the ecclesia have reflects the longing of our own generation. The angels and Beatrice gave the book a special extra dimension that is subtle enough to offer a genuine sense of connected reality. The imagery between the equal cross and the labarum helped to clarify strongly the differences between selfish power and self-sacrificing loving power. Thank you so much for producing a book that I would happily recommend to a follower of another faith, an atheist or an agnostic as well as, of course, Christians. I am looking forward to reading the sequel! ~ Hilary Marshall, online psychotherapist, spiritual director and writer, Roger Haydon Mitchell
This is a great story. It combined enjoyment with learning more about historical periods which I always find very satisfying! There is also building tension and a sense of adventure when key characters follow the principles of love, no matter what personal risk and material loss it brings. It's the kind of book you’re likely to debate about over a meal! I reckon even older primary school kids will get a lot out of it! Although, the historic period and story are in the context of the growth of the Christian faith during the Roman Empire it will appeal to people of all faiths and none! If you're like me you'll read this, think about it, discuss it with others and then reluctantly hand it over to a friend who's asking to borrow your copy! ~ UK reader, https://www.amazon.co.uk/Day-Labyrinth-Blind-Seer-Novel/dp/1803414146
This is a great story. It combined enjoyment with learning more about historical periods which I always find very satisfying! There is also building tension and a sense of adventure when key characters follow the principles of love, no matter what personal risk and material loss it brings. It's the kind of book you’re likely to debate about over a meal! I reckon even older primary school kids will get a lot out of it! Although, the historic period and story are in the context of the growth of the Christian faith during the Roman Empire it will appeal to people of all faiths and none! If you're like me you'll read this, think about it, discuss it with others and then reluctantly hand it over to a friend who's asking to borrow your copy! ~ Amazon Customer, Amazon uk
The Day of the Labyrinth: The Blind Seer and the Gift of Love’ is multi-layered and deeply engaging on every level. As fantasy its fast-paced action, roller-coaster plot and compelling characters provide page-turning entertainment. As historical fiction it offers accurate immersion in the language and custom of 4th Century Roman life. As politics it explores the perennial problems of corrupt power and the cycle of violence. As philosophy it promotes a path to restorative justice through compassionate and communal action. And as theology it counters the idolatry of imperial power that led to what Haydon Mitchell, in his professional capacity as political theologian, calls ‘the fall of the church.’ Hugely enjoyable and highly recommended, this book offers an essential narrative enriched and informed by the authors five decades of peace activism and scholarship. ~ Mark , Amazon uk
I was both surprised and pleased at the lovely flow of words you achieved for a first novel and the whole way through I was engaged and engrossed. I enjoyed how you interlaced the themes of the two kingdoms and the dilemmas and challenges which that created in decision-making and how the redemption of the way of love was able to subvert the normally expected outcomes of situations. I warmed to Constantine and I enjoyed the journey you took us on with his embracing of “a new way” to govern. I admire the task you have taken on of portraying these two kingdoms/world views and to contemplate three additional novels is a huge and daunting objective but a worthy venture and I look forward with anticipation at acquiring and reading the next volumes. ~ David Erasmus, Roger Haydon Mitchell
A very different take on the Emperor Constantine and the development of the Church crafted into a compelling and inspiring story. Very accessible to even me, who wouldn't say he is an expert on the period. Definitely satisfies the 9 to 90 write up! ~ Amazon Customer, Amazon UK
This enchanting novel had me transfixed. My two day journey through this creative adventure engaged my whole being. As such It became an experience that involved my heart and all my emotions along with my mind. I loved how it kept beckoning me on and carried me through to the end. The period of history set in the time around 400 A.D. was fascinating. It was a delight to meet mythical beings as well as angels, and all the diverse characters. The Minotaur is such a symbol of patriarchy for me. In the culture in which we live, these stories are validating and instructive in how to recognize these ever-present dominant tendencies. It is good to learn through the experiences of others how to cut the effects of those traits through ancestral lines. Here we are in 2024. Every time we turn on the news we hear of nations rising up against oppressive regimes, people dying, refugees fleeing, and what remains are uninhabitable places. Into this current lived reality for all of us, this novel, “The Day of the Labyrinth,” is presented to our senses. What a gift! Is there a world religion that does not have at its heart a hope for harmony and peace brought about through love? When we connect with the beauty of the mountains and trees, the dolphins and the seas, the wind and the chickadees, is there not an awareness of how life could be? Could we live with enough and enjoy the love which surrounds us? Many of us find ourselves between framing stories, the old has left a bitter taste and the new has not yet emerged, or has not yet proven to be any different. I invite you to come on a journey through this remarkable story. Although it happened years ago, the story is endlessly cyclical. It is then. It is now. It is them. It is us. How does a love that is the longing of every heart go so wrong? For that is what we all crave, isn’t it? And therein lies the rub. What do we crave? At the very hidden core of our heart’s motivation, can we stay on course to seek the way of sacrificial love? At a crucial junction in life, when our differing sets of relationships present us with two options, which will we choose? Will we be able to see the insidious thread that pulls at our craving and leads toward a trajectory that gets us off the course of love for others at the cost of ourselves? The subtitle of the book is “The Blind Seer and the Gift of Love.” This is genius. For love to truly be a gift there can be no hidden agenda related to selfish needs and goals. What hope such a setting brings to the world’s current situation. This story has woven tremendous historical research with imaginative possibilities. The author has done a wonderful service to us by bringing to life a historical time and events that have perhaps until now only reached our minds. I was moved by the peace and shalom that was present in places. Yet there was intense sadness, tears, frustration. In the end I am left with the wonder and the hope of a love so intense that keeps on beckoning. ~ Connie Dryfhout, Elder, Meadowvale Community Church, Canada, Roger Haydon Mitchell
Are we tired of our constant narrative that seeks to justify war and killings? Of nations rising up against nations all for the reason of more land and power often under the guise of religion? This story is a magnificent weaving of a time in history when a choice for power, authority and control twisted the true way of love that Jesus showed us. This novel was gripping. I read it in two days. There was such beauty depicted in the unfolding of the community of love that was flourishing in the beginning of the story. I could feel my heart calling out “No! No! No!” when I felt the subtle twist coming in to insidiously inject the lure to putting one’s own ambitions and goals ahead of a loving inclusion and possibility of working towards a harmonious life with space for all. The story continued with a master crafting of an interspersing of events that brought me to tears and yet beautiful, life-giving moments of wonder and hope. I thoroughly enjoyed it. ~ Trailblazer, Amazon Canada
I asked one of my boys to buy me your novel for Christmas and I have just finished it. I read quite a lot these days, fiction and non-fiction and very much enjoyed the read. I was not drawn in straight away, but on persevering it had the effect on me of all good novels, I wanted to pick it up each night. At the point at which Constantine was introduced my interest was really focused due to his significance historically, and I enjoyed the attention to detail regarding Roman life and appreciated the definitions at the beginning of the book. Roger, thank you for writing the book, I look forward to reading the next one. ~ Adam Ashworth, Author
A remarkable story that will draw you in as you go, and has the power to enfold you. Through events and circumstances that for many will resonate with personal, real-time experience, this is a book that gives vitally-needed, sure hope for the uncertain, challenging times that face us all. I eagerly await the next in the promised series. ~ Dave Butler - ordinary bloke, Roger Haydon Mitchell (author)
This book reflects the author’s passion for understanding the inextricable cogs between the church and all forms of empire. Informed by the depth and height of his theological, philosophical, historical and political research, this novel takes its readers instead into a fascinating story of a labyrinth that has its source some seventeen centuries ago. In it we are led inexorably on a series of transitions through the incredible, the real and the historical, where angels, demons and myths intertwine, attract and repel each other. Entering this labyrinth does more than inspire your imagination, it compels you to continue reading, to discover the end, and forces a personal reflection on what we are still fighting against in the 21st century. ~ Samuel Rhein, lecturer and publisher
Time will tell whether this book brought me back to Christianity. Be prepared to be torn back to a time when to be a Christian was to be a rebel: against empire; against violence; against the notion of personal gain. A marked contrast with all that Christianity has become a symbol of in our times. Mitchell takes us on a journey between illuminatingly-researched history and fantasy, digging into Christianity’s deep past to give radical presence to eternal social and political questions: Can love and hierarchy coincide? Can we build a new world in the shell of the old? What does the righteous path look like? ~ Dr Timothy Stacey, Researcher, Urban Futures Studio, Utrecht University and Co-Founder and Co-Director, AltVisions.org.
I particularly liked reading the story of Marcus, Titus and Felix, the 'companions of love' who were appointed as Constantine's comēs rei militaris, assigned with the incredible task of helping the Emperor subvert the hierarchies of violence on which his Empire was based and construct a 'truly just society' of 'new humans', 'all are rich in love, all are free and all are equal' (p 48). I related to their agonising struggle to be true to the compassionate Spirit of God, to listen to the alternative counter-intuitive voice of Eusébie rather than the accepted orthodox advice of Eusebius and to practice the 'self-giving' politics of Christ over against the 'self-serving' realpolitik of Rome. I am wracked with the same excruciating realisation the companions were forced to acknowledge - that while it is not possible to ever synergise the 'kingdom' and the 'empire', we are still called to work for kingdom liberation under the shadow of imperial domination, in any way and every way we can, in order to bring 'light to the darkened peace' and 'to make life bearable for those who live under it” (p126). ~ Dave Andrews author, activist and Greenbelt speaker, Roger Haydon Mitchell
I meant every word in my blurb for this book. It gave me that magical feeling that another world could be within our grasp. If only we had faith. And that faith need not be Christian or even religious. Indeed I'm not sure mine is. It's probably not. Instead it's a deep faith in the possibility of love. A fable of what happens when love and power collide. Best read as an e-book in my view as the historical references are wonderful and easy to look up. I find myself returning to many of the locations mentioned and exploring the Roman ruins. ~ Dr Timothy Stacey, https://www.linkedin.com/posts/timothy-stacey-b8050738_the-day-of-the-labyrinth-the-blind-seer-activity-7138863820776595456-U4Mm?utm_source=share&utm_medium=member_desktop