Novels and Fiction with a Catholic/Christian Perspective

by Fr. Gary Coulter

Current efforts at spreading the faith in "Novel" form - A listing of some of the more Catholic-themed fiction, especially more recent releases.

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See my many other Book Recommendations

Note that my page of Intellectual Catholic Books already has a number of selections by category: Fiction, Historical Novel and Novels about Saints

Recent Novels

Classic Novels

Online Novels


Modern and Recent Novels

New 2012 reprint: A Catholic novel situated in 19th century England that deals with conversion and growth in holiness, as it interveawes the life of (now Blessed) John Henry Newman and Oxford Movement, with many major events of the 19th century, such as the Industrial Revolution, and the shaping of Victorian England.
Shadows and Images: A Novel by Meriol Trevor (who also wrote a comprehensive biography of Bl. Cardinal John Henry Newman: Newman's Journey)

Marcus Grodi has written a sequel to his apologetic novel, both stories about the lives of a Congregational minister (and his wife/congregation) who struggles with whether the bible alone is sufficicient for faith, giving an intimate picture of the psycological and relational issues that arise from the conversion process.
First, How Firm a Foundation and now the sequel, Pillar and Bulwark

Brian J. Gail has finished the third book of his trilogy of adult-level, page-turning novels sprinkled with Catholic teaching and apologetics: a sermon, a warning for out age, and a realistic fiction thiller all in one.
Fatherless and Motherless and now: Childless
Read more about them at the website FatherlessBook.com

Peter Kreeft is the fictional 'editor' who has collected the writings of the son of a Muslim father and Catholic mother, into what is subtitled: "The Autobiograph of 'Isa Ben Adam". Ben Adam studies philosophy at Boston College and engages in theological discussions with a motley group of students who represent Catholic, Protestant, Jewish, and Muslim beliefs - covering a multitude of moral themes and religious questions, including the mystery of good and evil.
An Ocean Full of Angels

Michael O'Brien, published by Ignatius Press
The Father's Tale: A Novel (2011)
A modern retelling of the parables The Good Shepherd and The Prodigal Son. The quiet life of a middle-age widower is turned upside down when his college-age son disappears without a trace, leading him on an odyssey of adventure and peril, stretched nearly to the breaking point by the inexplicable suffering he witnesses and experiences, he discovers unexpected sources of strength as he presses onward in the hope of recovering his son--and himself.
Theophilos
A somewhat historical novel about the man to whom St. Luke addressed his Gospel and the Acts of the Apostles. (Read an interview with the author.)
Island of the World
A dramatic novel of religious faith and divine providence in the midst of great evils, war, suffering, and radical injustice. (Read a review and comments.)
Children of the Last Days series of apocalyptic novels explores the fate of the Catholic Church in the end times. Click here for information about the order they should be read. The books in order of publication date are:
Father Elijah
Eclipse of the Sun
Strangers and Sojourners
The Plague Journal
A Cry of Stone
Sophia House
Michael O'Brien is also the author of A Landscape With Dragons: The Battle for Your Child's Mind - an important work on the power and value of literature, with a helpful, lengthy appendix of good books for children of all ages, arranged by level of difficulty and author.

New in 2010 - If you liked C.S. Lewis' Screwtape Letters you will love:
The Gargoyle Code by Fr. Dwight Longenecker. Like the Screwtape Letters, it's a collection of fictional letters of the devils' tricks and temptations. Only its about Catholics who are being tempted, and is written as taking place during the Season of Lent, with a letter for each day... but almost impossible to read just one day at a time.
The Loser Letters by Mary Eberstadt. A series of advice letters from an enthusiastic convert to the cause of the "new atheists" creates a witty satire about the fictional conversion of a young adult Christian to atheism. Aimed at countering bestsellers like The God Delusion and God Is Not Great, Eberstadt deftly exposes the flaws in their views. (Read the foreword and reviews at ignatius.com/loser-letters.)

From Ignatius Press in 2009:
The Death of a Pope - Piers Paul Read creates an engrossing thriller, centered around a terrorist plot at the conclave following the death of John Paul II. His astute observation of modern legal and political culture, as well as the state of the church 40 years after Vatican II, make this much more than just an ordinary thriller.
A Postcard From the Volcano: A Novel of Pre-War Germany by Lucy Beckett. A historical narrative that takes place in Prussia from the outbreak of World War I to the eve of World War II. A well researched historical novel that shows the impact of war and individuals struggling to deal with the incredible challenges. (See also her first historical novel: The Time Before You Die.)

The Tripods Attack! - Sophia Institute Press, 2008. John McNichol has created a fictional account of a young G.K. Chesterton, whose adventures during a Martian invasion lead him to Catholic values through encounters with H.G. Wells, Fr. Brown and other fictional friends. Highly recommended if you like C.S. Lewis or Tolkein, or just want a Catholic alternative to Harry Potter. Look for a sequel coming soon.

"Dorsetville" series by Katherine Valentine, published by Doubleday
This series focuses around the life and times of the inhabitants of a small New England town. The books in order of publication date are:
* A Miracle for St. Cecilia's
Gathering of Angels
On a Wing and a Prayer

Brother Cadfael Mysteries by Ellis Peters
Marvelous mystery novels that are a delightful blend of mystery, history, and romance (in the old and best sense of the word).

Alice Thomas Ellis
An English writer who died just a couple years ago. A Catholic convert, mother of seven, and a great cook, she wrote on food, family, and faith, with an incredible caustic wit. Some of her novels include:
The Inn at the Edge of the World
The Sin-Eater
The Birds of the Air
The Summer House Trilogy
The 27th Kingdom
Alice Thomas Ellis also has some collections of Catholic essays, both attacks on modernism.
God Has Not Changed
A Cat Among Pigeons

"Loyola Classics" series, edited by Amy Welborn, published by Loyola Press
This series features re-released versions of classics by Catholic authors. The books include:
Catholics by Brian Moore
Cosmas, or the Love of God by Peter Hebblethwaite
Do Black Patent Leather Shoes Really Reflect Up? by John R. Powers
Helena
In This House of Brede by Rumer Godden
Mr. Blue by Myles Connolly
North of Hope by Jon Hassler
Saint Francis by Nikos Kazantzakis
The Devil's Advocate by Morris L. West
The Edge of Sadness by Edwin O'Connor
The Keys of the Kingdom by A. J. Cronin
The Last Catholic in America by John R. Powers
The Silver Chalice by Thomas B. Costain
The Unoriginal Sinner and the Ice-Cream God by John Powers
Things as They Are by Paul Horgan
Vipers' Tangle by Francois Mauriac
Cosmas or the Love of God by Pierre de Calan
Five for Sorrow, Ten for Joy by Rumer Godden
Son of Dust by H.F.M. Prescott

My Visit to Hell by Paul Thigpen
An exciting book by a prolific Catholic author. Read an interview with the author of this novel in line with Dante's Inferno.

Arms of Love and Surrender by Carmen Marcoux
Catholic novels about young love, the challenges of chaste relationships, and the heartaches and rewards of living the Gospel message without compromise, a unique way to portray John Paul II's Theology of the Body in an engaging way. See more info at courtshipnow.com/infopage.html

Junia, Marcus and Grain of Wheat by Fr. Michael Giesler
Teenagers and adults will enjoy this trilogy of historical novels about conversion to the Christian faith and the resulting persecution the early Christians faced in Rome. Plus a glimpse at how Christianity grew so rapidly throughout the Roman Empire: from the witness of the actions of one Catholic at a time.

The Landing Place by Fr. Serafim Gascoigne
A supernatural adventure novel written by a Greek Orthodox priest from Seattle, based on his extensive travels, it is historical, fast-paced and full of fascinating characters, who have a strong overall sense of Christian values, morality and providence. Written for teens but will be enjoyed by adults.

Passport by Christopher Blunt
A Catholic coming of age story that appeals to both men and women with an engaging combination of adventure and romance in one man's search for healing as he learns to love and sacrifice for his family.

A World Away: The Quest of Dan Clay: Book One and The Harrowing Escape: The Quest of Dan Clay: Book Two by T. J. Smith
This Catholic author creates a cliff hanger adventure trilogy (the third, "The Sinister Realm", to come soon) about a parallel world that will be enjoyed by adults and teens alike, teaching morality and faith through fiction novels.

The Grand Inquisitor by John Zmirak
A Catholic stand-up comic writes a graphic novel of intrigue and entertainment that actually appreciates religion and defends Catholicism. Read an interview from the author of The Bad Catholic's Guide to Good Living and The Bad Catholic's Guide To Wine, Whiskey, And Song

A new Fiction work from Loyola Press:
The Shoemaker's Gospel: A Novel by Daniel Brent

Some other novels like "The Shoemaker's Gospel" that touch on a deeper understanding of Jesus:
Christ the Lord: Out of Egypt by Anne Rice (2004) - a moving and credible portrait of the young Lord and His family in their home at Nazareth.
Joshua: A Parable for Today by Fr. Joseph Girzone (1994)
The Alchemist: A Fable About Following Your Dream by Paulo Coelho (1995)
Dinner with a Perfect Stranger: An Invitation Worth Considering by David Gregory (2005)

A new publisher, Blue and Gold Media, has released two exciting and engaging Catholic novels (Read more about the books at this site, also available in audiobook).
The Misplaced Spy
Trial of the Mystic

William Granger is a Catholic father of 3 sons, who has written two (of a trilogy) young adult action-adventure books about a boy, Anabar, who struggles with deciding what he wants to do with his life. He ultimately has to choose whether to seek peace, even if it means risking everything. Not overtly Catholic, but written from a Christian perspective.
Anabar's Run
Anabar Rises

Crown of the World--Book 1: Knight of the Temple by Nathan Sadasivan (a home-schooled teen) - A historical novel (first in a trilogy) about the Crusades presents a balanced picture of these historical times.

A Philadelphia Catholic in King James's Court by Martin de Porres Kennedy is a novel about / to learn apologetics, also suitable for high schoolers (Discussion/Study Guide available)

The Shadow of the Bear: A Fairy Tale Retold and Black as Night: A Fairy Tale Retold
The first two volumes in Regina Doman's Fairy Tale Novel series, we follow two sisters on fantastic adventures in New York City. Suitable for teens, these are Catholic stories, involving encounters with realistic priests and religious, and also seeing the girls learn and grow and rely on their faith.
Andre Dubus
Deceased in 1999, Dubus received numerous awards for his writings. A deeply sacramental and incarnational Catholic spirituality pervaded his works, such as the novel The Lieutenant and especially his short stories Broken Vessels, Selected Stories and Meditations from a Movable Chair: Essays
Bruce Marshall (18991987) was a prolific Scottish writer and a Catholic convert, with many religious themed books.
His first great success, Father Malachy's Miracle, 0450002853 is about an innocent Scottish priest whose encounter with sinful behavior causes him to become involved in a miracle.
A number of his later novels also deal with clergy who are faced with temptation but manage to triumph in a modest and humble manner: The World, the Flesh, and Father Smith (1944)B001NRFP3Q, A Thread of Scarlet (1959) B000UGCZ8Y, Father Hilary's Holiday (1965)B0017KTBVQ, The Month of the Falling Leaves (1963)B0000CLOS8.
Other books centered on religious issues deal more with Catholic doctrine and its relationship to modern life: The Bishop (1970)B0006C5BT2, Peter the Second (1976)0094611505, Urban the Ninth (1973) and Marx the First (1975)0094606404.
Sister Mary Catharine Perry O. P.
Amata Means Beloved - A story of life in the cloister and forgiveness. Is one coming closer to God or just trying to escape the world?
Josue Raul Conte
Contemporary author of several Catholic novels: The Stones Cry Out! and The Chancery Murders
Bud MacFarlane Jr offers Free Novels
Pierced by a Sword, Conceived Without Sin, and House of Gold
Peace Like a River by Leif Enger, a young American Evangelical Christian
Although not Catholic, faith permeates this novel, but it's not sweet piety of the shallower sort, but a truly Christian novel with both humor and plot. It includes a dramatic story (about murder and repentance), a portrait of Christian fatherhood (and manhood), the struggle with personal sin, injustice, and humiliation.
C. J. Sansom
Although I don't think he's Catholic, his historical "crime novels" in the Matthew Shardlake series depict different aspects of the English Reformation (under King Henry VIII) and seem to accurately portray the religious tumult of the time. A "closed setting" mystery set in a monastery with Dissolution, a "quest" with Dark Fire, a "political thriller" with Sovereign, and now a serial killer novel with Revelation.
Dean Koontz
A multi-million, best-selling author, Koontz is a Catholic who mostly writes in the "horror" genre. Therefore some of his books may contain disturbing scenes including violence, gore, frightening portrayals of great evil, and some sexuality. Yet many praise the novels deep themes and Catholic elements, such as faith and morality, the confrontation of evil and the supernatural.
Perhaps his somewhat Catholic works are the series about Odd Thomas, including Forever Odd and the most recent Brother Odd
Again, none of his works can be considered Christian fiction, but the themes are still there, books such as: The Taking, Life Expectancy, By the Light of the Moon and The Face.
Lee Harris has written numerous books in the Christine Bennett Mysteries, about an ex-nun who solves crimes.
First in the series is: Good Friday Murder
Or maybe better is about an actual nun who solves crimes, in the Sister Joan series by Veronica Black (pen name for Maureen Peters, deceased 2008).
First in the series of 11 books is: A Vow of Silence
The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell (Can be a little gruesome / graphic / shocking)
A science fiction work about a group, including Jesuit priests, sent on the first expedition to an alien world. Deals with spiritual questions and the meaning of suffering. Also see the sequel Children of God
Some novels about fictional Cardinals and Popes (think Shoes of the Fisherman)
Cardinal Galsworthy by Edward R. F. Sheehan
The Red Hat by Ralph M. McInerny
The Death of a Pope by Piers Paul Read (May 2009)
The Gospel According to Judas Iscariot
Joseph Luguya has written a very different novel, somewhat on the lines of C.S. Lewis' Screwtape Letters
The Red Horse by Eugenio Corti
A popular Italian novel about World War II and its aftershocks. While a great historical novel with its epic scope, it also contains the underlying spiritual dimensions of faith and hope in a world of cruel hatred.


Classic Novels

Louis de Wohl
Any of his historical novels and his speculative fiction
Graham Greene
* The Power and the Glory
The Heart of the Matter
The End of the Affair
Hint of an Explanation (short story)
Flannery O'Connor
* Wise Blood
A Good Man is Hard to Find short story
Mystery and Manners
The Habit of Being: Letters of Flannery O'Connor Nonfiction about the art and craft of writing fiction.
Georges Bernanos
* The Diary of a Country Priest
Under the Sun of Satan
The Last Essays of Georges Bernanos - non-fiction, predictions of where our civilization is headed
Walker Percy
Love in the Ruins
Lost In The Cosmos: The Last Self-Help Book (non-fiction)
The Last Gentleman
Julien Green
The Other One
Journals
God's Fool: The Life of Francis of Assisi
Moira
Sigrid Indset(Undset)
Kristin Lavransdatter
The Master of Hestviken (multiple volumes)
Catherine of Siena (non-fiction)
Evelyn Waugh
Brideshead Revisited
Helena (Loyola Classics)
J.F. Powers
* Wheat That Springeth Green
Morte d'Urban
The Prince of Darkness
Presence of Grace
Msgr. Robert Hugh Benson
Lord of the World
Dawn of All (sort of a sequel to Lord of the World)
Come Rack! Come Rope!
Oddsfish! (available online)
Owen Francis Dudley
Father Dudley has a series of nine books that address the problems and answers of human happiness and today's world.
Alessandro Manzoni
The Betrowthed
Willa Cather
Death Comes for the Archbishop
Charles Sheldon
In His Steps
Lloyd C. Douglas
The Robe
Henryk Sienkiewicz
Quo Vadis
Par Lagerkvist
Barabbas
Catherine Marshall
Christy
C. S. Lewis
Space Trilogy:
Out of the Silent Planet
Perelandra
That Hideous Strength
JRR Tolkien
Lord of the Rings Trilogy
The Silmarillion
The Children of Hurin
Bodie Thoene
In My Father's House
Jose Maria Gironella
The Cypresses Believe in God: Spain on the Eve of Civil War
Shusaku Endo
Silence
The Samurai
A renowned 20th century author who wrote from the perspective of being both Japanese and Catholic.
Francois Mauriac
Viper's Tangle (Loyola Classics)
Walter M Miller Jr
A Canticle for Leibowitz
Jon Hassler
Staggerford
North of Hope (Loyola Classics)
Dear James (Loyola Classics)
Franz Werfel
The Song of Bernadette
Morris L. West
The Shoes of the Fisherman
The Devil's Advocate (Loyola Classics)


Novels Available Online

G.K. Chesterton
Chesterton wrote some 200 short stories, including some plays. His best-known character is the priest-detective Father Brown, while The Man Who Was Thursday is arguably his best-known novel.
Some of his fiction works include: Manalive, The Ball and the Cross, The Club of Queer Trades, The Innocence of Father Brown, The Man Who Knew Too Much, The Trees of Pride, The Wisdom of Father Brown.
These and many more are Available Online or for purchase, such as: The Complete Father Brown
Robert Hugh Benson
Come Rack! Come Rope!
Lord of the World
Oddsfish!
Dante
Purgatorio, Inferno, Paradisio
Also see Dante Aligieri: Divine Comedy, Divine Spirituality by Robert Royal a text and commmentary
Miguel de Cervantes
Don Quixote