Authentic Media, 2008
Reviewed by Belinda Dorman, a journalism and psychology student
Dave Haywood’s novel Son’s of Thunder is a modern adaptation of the gospels.
He brings the arrival of God’s Son, his band of disciples, his miracles, his crucifixion, and his resurrection into a 21st century context, beginning in the town of Cornwell, England.
Some of the novel’s characters have different names and parables are given modern and imaginative examples, but readers familiar with the Gospels will recognise Jesus, individual disciples, and well known parables and miracles.
Some readers may find even this book edging on the offensive or unbelievable as there is violence, guns, drinking, gambling, and possible innuendos to sex within the disciple group.
However, others may find the characters relatable and believable.
The story is written from disciple Tom’s perspective through a letter he writes to the church back home.
He recounts the groups’ lives before befriending Josh and up until the beginning of the early church, sharing the excitement, conflicts, thoughts, and fears he had as events occurred.
The first few chapters switch between various situations and events which led up to the group’s trip to Cambodia, then flows like a novel.
While on a historical tour, seeing the suffering and survival of the Cambodian people, Mr Hopwood uses the fields of Cambodia as the place for Josh to exhibit his supernatural powers and parables to the group.
However, I was not satisfied with one difference between the novel and the Gospels – the appearance of Josh/Jesus after his crucifixion.
In the biblical account of the resurrection the female disciples first saw Jesus and ran to tell the male disciples that he had been resurrected.
This point seems to be important and symbolic to Christian women who believe that this created a new place for woman in ministry and that it challenges sexist attitudes.
In Sons of Thunder, things happen differently.
A female disciple tells some of the disciples that she has read about the guards losing Josh’s body.
Josh then appears to one of his male disciples and then visits them collectively.
However, Sons of Thunder is still readable, entertaining, encouraging, creative, and alternative in its approach to telling the Gospels.
I recommend it to other readers.