When a respected priest decides to found a monastery away from the temptations of other humans he is able to draw two other monks with him. They depart down the river Shannon to the ocean to find a previously uninhabited island upon which to start their ministry. Their new Prior is quite devout and feels like the saints, they should deny earthly things and therefore bring scant supplies on which to survive. Quickly their island paradise becomes a challenging place to survive. Over and over, the Prior chooses godly works, like copying the Bible over fundamental survival tasks like finding food sources and shelter. He reminds his companions that God will provide for them, and he does, but not in a way that brings them comfort or security in survival. This quickly causes unrest.
I’m not sure this book is for everyone. It is well written but there is very little action and a lot of specific detail about the technology of the seventh century and what survival on a remote island would look like. I enjoyed those aspects but certainly found this to be a quieter, more contemplative novel. I also think you need to have some interest in early Christian religion, the Prior of this group is written to get us to debate what is true faith, what crosses the line to fundamentalism and perhaps even when one might actually be mad. Haven is definitely a story about the truths of what it is to be human, what it is to have true faith and how easily one is steered off course.
Thanks to Little, Brown and Company via Netgalley for advanced access to this novel. All opinions above are my own.
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