Customer Reviews


29 Reviews
5 star:
 (25)
4 star:
 (3)
3 star:
 (1)
2 star:    (0)
1 star:    (0)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


5.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining, thought-provoking and historical
Quo Vadis is one of my favorite all-time novels. Quo Vadis is interesting and worthwhile for many reasons - in describing the activities and lives of early Christians, in detailing the gradual conversion of a Roman patrician to Christianity (and, thus, describing plainly some of the principles important to Christians), in illustrating the history, activities and...
Published on July 16 2004 by Ingrid Snellings

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars A religious tome
I wish someone would have warned me before I read this book that it is essentially religious propoganda. It was worth reading though, because it's a nice historical novel (apart from the fact that it's historically inaccurate - eg, I read in a very reliable source that it is quite unlikely that Nero caused Rome to be burnt) in that it gives you some idea of what it...
Published on Feb. 2 2000 by Michael W. Chesser


‹ Previous | 1 2 3 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

5.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining, thought-provoking and historical, July 16 2004
By 
This review is from: Quo Vadis (Paperback)
Quo Vadis is one of my favorite all-time novels. Quo Vadis is interesting and worthwhile for many reasons - in describing the activities and lives of early Christians, in detailing the gradual conversion of a Roman patrician to Christianity (and, thus, describing plainly some of the principles important to Christians), in illustrating the history, activities and "mindset" of Rome and her citizens during the reign of Nero and in describing the upbringing and reign of Nero himself. It is beautifully and clearly written. I sought out this book after reading about it in Ayn Rand's "The Art of Fiction" in which she says "...I consider "Quo Vadis", technically, <to be> one of the best-constructed novels ever written..." (p. 16). I agree with her short analysis of this book: It was easy to follow the plot and all of the many details as they were being built while, at the same time, not appearing "simplistic".
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars Nero and the Christians, May 26 2003
By 
Paul McGrath (Sacramento, CA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Quo Vadis (Paperback)
The Christian v. lion's story has been around so long that it has pretty much become a kind of myth. It is a phrase one brings up in order to illustrate some point or other, but is hardly ever thought about in historical terms. In fact, Christianity itself sometimes seems as if it is becoming a kind of myth. The left doesn't take it seriously, and bashes Christians for being intolerant and condescending. But Christians, in their haste to retaliate, often act intolerant and can be arrogantly condescending. The sense of what it means to be Christian seems to get lost in all of this.
Quo Vadis takes us back to the days when Christianity was fresh and new and shows us just what kind of world it was then that caused such a movement to flourish. This alone would make it an excellent novel, but it works wonderfully on all levels. The characters are superbly drawn, the setting is realistic, the plot crackles along, and, perhaps most importantly in a novel with this subject matter, it never becomes preachy or didactic, instead maintaining an objective perspective throughout.
Rome was the greatest of the ancient empires, yet despite all of its glorious achievements, it was truly a barbaric place. The concept of human rights was non-existent. Slaves--of all races--were property, and could be used in any way one saw fit, including the most vicious or depraved. The rule of law, while discussed in philosophical terms, was only sporadically and occasionally applied. The law instead came and went at the whim of the powerful, and if the powerful happened to be someone like Nero--the ruler of Rome during the course of this novel--then the law was sadistic, cruel, wicked and unpredictable.
We see the effect that living this kind of society has on the two main characters of the novel, both of whom are members of the upper crust: Petronius, a courtier; and Vinicius, a military officer. Petronius, as Nero's confidant, can never let his guard down. He must flatter, cajole, deceive and manipulate Nero every minute of the day, for his very life depends on it. It is a life, "drained and listless and detached," as we are told in the first sentence of the novel. Vinicius falls in love with a captive Christian female, and through his love we see how Christianity changes his life. But it is an unbelievably difficult and dangerous undertaking--with the demented presence of Nero and his sycophants looming over everything--to form an attachment with a person and then a cause such as this.
It gradually dawns on us how the Christian movement began in the first place, and why attempts were made so mercilessly to stamp it out. Instead of dishonesty and cruelty, it called for honesty and kindness. Instead of privilege for the elite, its promises were made to all. Instead of arrogance, it preached submissiveness. Perhaps most importantly, it simplified one's life, and allowed one to live without fear.
Rome is burned, possibly at Nero's orders, incredibly, so that he can experience suffering as he believes a true artist must. To divert the anger of the Romans, he blames Christians. Thousands of men, women, and children are rounded up, put in dungeons for months, then on successive festival days were crucified, burned alive, mauled by gladiators, and, as we know, attacked by wild animals. Their fate is so hideous that in time even the jaded Romans became sickened by it.
These historical events, and the actions of the characters during them, are what make up the bulk of the novel. To say the least, it makes for very compelling reading; indeed, some parts are difficult to bear. And as mentioned, it is presented in a very objective way. Not all of the Christians are presented sympathetically--one, in fact, is a fiery, all-will-be-damned type--and not all the Romans are presented harshly. The noblest character in the novel may very well be Petronius, who uses his influence as much as he can to alleviate the suffering he sees around him. And although he recognizes to some degree the power and decency of the movement, he himself does not wish to become a Christian. He can not abide the idea of being required to love his fellow man, most of whom--the unwashed, ignorant mob--he detests. He is a magnificent creation.
The book is a real eye-opener, a good reminder of what the world was like before the birth of Christ, and a sobering reflection on what being a Christian truly means. At the same time it is also a superbly researched and entertaining piece of historical fiction, and the kind of thing for which historical fiction buffs are constantly on the alert. Great stuff.
(I should mention that this review is of the Kunizak translation.)
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars I like it., May 20 2003
This review is from: Quo Vadis (Paperback)
This is the best book I have ever read. It is especially moving for Christians to show them what radical and pure christianity is like. Any non christian will also love it for its characters, plot, and fast pace. It is also interesting if you have any interest in history of the Roman Empire or the early Christian church. This is a wonderful book and I plan to read it again and again.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent!, March 28 2003
This review is from: Quo Vadis (Hardcover)
Having been a huge fan of Robert Graves' I Claudius and Claudius the God, I was always sad that Graves did not write a sequel to highlight the reign of the last Augustan ruler. Many times reading Quo Vadis, I felt like this was that book. It does give a good insight to the decadence of Nero's reign along with some references to his predecessors. It also clarified some often-misrepresented assumptions like all gladiatorial competitions taking place in the Colosseum. We learn that Nero pre-dated the Colosseum and in fact, the battles were staged in a large "wooden" arena.
Some of the action has some good vivid descriptions such as the burning of Rome and some of the gladiatorial fights. The book also gives a glimpse at what Christianity could have been. We see how the disciples Peter and Paul worshipped their religion in a way that is totally unlike anything today.
The characters are excellent and the book never gets boring.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best novels of all time, March 11 2003
By 
Katherine Karp (Illinois United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Quo Vadis (Paperback)
Excellent novel describing the struggle of early Christianity under the tyrannical and mad Emperor Nero. It's also a beautiful love story, the love of a handsome but troubled Roman soldier who has to give up his old ways of thinking for a beautiful Christian girl. This book really makes you think and does a wonderful job of showing the contrast between the simple truths of the early Christians and the debauchery that permeates the word. Petronius is the most memorable character, with his sarcastic, dry sense of humor and his ability to control the vanity of Nero. One of the best novels I've ever read.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars Quo Vadis: A magnificent novel, Jan. 1 2003
By 
Adam (Rancho Cucamonga, CA United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Quo Vadis (Paperback)
Quo Vadis is one of the greatest novels of all time. Sienkiewicz deserved the Nobel Prize he received in 1905. This book is very religiously symbolic. This story takes place in Rome during the reign of the crazy Nero and the growing Christian faith. "QUO VADIS" which means 'where are you going' is symbolic and it is asking, if you will go to the Christian side or stay with the Roman faith. Quo Vadis is a story of a Roman man who over time realizes the truth and changes to Christianity after falling in love with a beautiful Christian girl.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars Love and religion, or the religion of love, Nov. 13 2002
By 
Guillermo Maynez (Mexico, Distrito Federal Mexico) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Quo Vadis (Paperback)
This novel has ideas, romance, violence, adventure, mysticism, and politics, so it can't be boring even if some reviewers complain about its slow start. Set in the middle of Nero's tenure in power, in the First century AD, it tells the story of Vinitius, a Roman military officer from a Patricious family with good standing at the court. He has the friendship and protection of Petronius, the Arbiter of Elegancy, a sensual, rich and cultivated man with much influence in court. Vinitius falls in love with the beautiful slave Ligia, who is a Christian living with a Roman Patricious family also converted to Christianity. Through his obsession with her, he gradually discovers the new religion and realizes the moral pit in which his culture has been decaying. Then Nero sets Rome on fire and Vinitius finds out that he'll have to rebel against the State in order to gain love. He is baptized and suffers persecution. Then he has to rescue his beloved from the Colliseum, just when she's going to be throwed in to the lions. The end is mystical and completely beautiful, and that's when you understand the title, which means "Where are you going, my Lord?", and is pronounced by St. Peter as he is fleeing Rome.
A very entertaining and rewarding novel, it is also a fictional testimony of the early years of Christendom. My favorite character is Petronius, a liberal, magnanimous and "cool" Pagan Roman who finds disgrace for protecting those he loves. very recommended.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars HISTORY OR RELIGION?, Sept. 28 2002
By 
Boris Zubry "Boris Zubry" (Princeton, NJ United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Quo Vadis (Hardcover)
This is an outstanding historical novel. When I was reading it a few years ago I asked myself a question: Is it a history or just a religious story? Well, it is a story, that's for certain. But what a story. It is well developed and extremely well written. Mr. Henryk K. Sienkiewicz was one of the greatest Polish writers and he should be known and remembered for his work.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4.0 out of 5 stars Nero fiddles . . . and fiddles . . . and fiddles, Aug. 18 2002
By 
Larry Scantlebury (Ypsilanti, MI United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Quo Vadis (Hardcover)
When one of the Italian volcanoes erupted in the hey day of the Roman Empire, a Roman Centurian was caught and suffocated in the ash. In the subsequent conflagration, his corpse remained remarkably preserved.
Despite his height and weight, obviously being quite smaller than us, the presence of muscular tone and apparent physical strength is both startling and revealing. National Geographic did an extraordinary photo-essay on this about 15 years ago.
Needless to say, these men and women were at least physically the same as us 2000 years later.
Sienkiewicz describes for us the debauchery of ancient Rome under the aegis of Emperor Nero and the blossoming of Christianity.
The dialogue of the early Christians is, while not disturbing, distracting. By example, Stephen Pressfield's dialogue between Leonidis and the emissaries of Xerxes in Gates of Fire is wholly conjectural. Likewise, Vinicius' coversations with Paul of Tarsus and Peter are also guesswork.
Yet, this is a brilliant story of societal conflict, love and treason. One is reminded of some of the correspondence between Lord Acton and the Pope of Rome hundreds of years later. Acton wrote, "Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely."
And the backdrop of this remarkable love story between a Christian Princess and one of the battle weary Tribunes of Rome is one of total immorality and corruption.
Additionally, we get to read a novel over a 100 years old. The first printing of Quo Vadis is in 1896 so we see a great historical romance in a style a century old. No quips here. No witty remarks between Danny Glover and Mel Gibson. It's hard times with Super Bowl-like events in the Coliseum where the losers get eaten.
It's great read. You really can't go wrong with one of the first "best sellers" ever written. A little PG-13 caveat. It is quite gory.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars Great Christian Fiction, March 1 2002
This review is from: Quo Vadis (Hardcover)
Sienkeiwicz weaves a masterful tale of early Christian experience during the reign of the Emperor Nero. While the facts relating to this novel are wrapped around a love story, this novel is really a witness to the power of conversion to Christ; particularly when such a conversion could easily meet with death.
Sts. Peter and Paul appear as characters in this novel. The author's attention to detail is obvious from the very beginning. He makes the depravity of Nero come to life without making an obvious gross caricature of the man. I found the author's portrayal of the Augustan court in a time when Rome is ruled by a tyrant who has obvious self-control and self-esteem issues quite fascinating.
In sum, this novel is a great bit of historical fiction. The story flows quite naturally and does not diverge into several "hard to follow" story lines. Rather, Sienkiewicz keeps the reader enthralled from beginning to end with this witness to Christian faith. This novel is, in short, inspiring.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 2 3 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

Quo Vadis
Quo Vadis by Henryk Sienkiewicz (Hardcover - Sept. 1 1999)
CDN$ 39.95 CDN$ 31.96
Usually ships in 2 to 3 weeks
Add to cart Add to wishlist
Only search this product's reviews