Book Review: The Betrayal


The Betrayal

A Novel On John Calvin

“God above, if you are there, you are most unkind to me. . . . Therefore, will I not serve you, will I not worship you, will I not obey you. Henceforth, I give of myself to those powers that most work against you, against your will and ways, and against your servants.”




I typically strive to stray away from speaking in superlatives; however, Douglas Bond’s novel The Betrayal is currently the best historical novel I have read. This is a story of hatred, human depravity, grace, and restoration. The story is told through the lens of a person who is a close friend and yet a secret enemy of Calvin. The Betrayal is a story of a man’s internal war with hatred and envy. Jean-Louis Mourin admires John Calvin for his piety and intellect and yet at the same time there is not another man on the earth in who he more despises. As hatred and envy consumes and pollutes the heart of Jean-Louis, John Calvin only sees a close friend and confident. What happens when the forerunner of the reformation’s closest friend is truly his worst enemy? The story is so deep and intricate that I believe I could rob you of experiencing the thrill of the unfolding narrative if I am to share anymore.

Writing Style

Prior to writing this novel for a more mature audience, Bond has chiefly written for children. However, anyone reading this book would assume that he has been writing adult novels for generations. He is a truly gifted writer who develops his characters with such depth that you cannot but feel as if you have entered into a time machine and have traveled back in time. I was so engrossed with this novel that I read it all in one sitting. I did not want it to end as I truly felt that I was walking the streets of Paris with John Calvin. At certain moments, I felt like I was actually sitting under Calvin’s preaching in Geneva. Bond has not only written to entertain, he has provided a service to the church in writing a novel that every student of church history should read to supplement their reformation era studies. I also commend his historical faithfulness to the life of Calvin. Due to the successful slandering by the Roman Catholic Church shortly after Calvin’s death, many, even within the Reformed community have bought into the idea that Calvin had the heretic Servetus executed. This, of course, is inaccurate, and as Bond demonstrates in this book, it is not in line with the historical evidence of Calvin’s life, character, and even position within Geneva. This book excels in that every quote from the mouth of Calvin in this novel actually comes from his writings. Therefore, while reading this book you are not only reading about Calvin but you are actually reading the actual words of Calvin from his letters, sermons, and Magnum Opus The Institutes of The Christian Religion.


If you are interested in learning more about the Reformation, pick up this book! If you want to learn more about one of the most influential men in Christian History, pick up this book! If you want to be motivated to pursue missions, evangelism, and Christian ministry, pick up this book! This novel will not only entertain, it will also leave you changed. You will open this book expecting to be lost in a story and entertained by a magnificent writer. However, when you close this book you will not only find your self entertained, but as you look up from its pages you will look up to Christ and see him as more precious. Thank you, Douglas Bond, for serving the church through your writings. I look forward to reading your new novel The Thunderer (A Novel on John Knox). Every Christian who loves to read should have this book in their library!

Click to go to Author's Home Page

Click to go to Author’s Home Page

About Kyle James Howard

My name is Kyle, I am married to my “high-school sweetheart” and we have 3 children. I have a 7 year-old daughter (Hadassah), a 2 year-old son (Jonah), and 1 year old (Kesed). I am 32 years old and I am currently a student at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. I have an Associates degree in Biblical & Theological Studies, A B.S. in Biblical Counseling, and I am finishing up an Advanced M. Div in Historical Theology. Click on the "About Me" link at the top of my home page to read my full testimony.

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