The Silver Chalice by Thomas Costain
Recommended for: 12 and up
The Silver Chalice is an English language historical novel by Thomas B. Costain. It's the fictional story of the making of a silver chalice to hold the Holy Grail (itself here conflated with the Holy Chalice) & includes 1st century biblical & historical figures: Luke, Peter, Joseph of Arimathea, Simon Magus & his companion Helena.
The story was inspired by the archeological discovery of a 1st-century silver chalice in Antioch. It's in effect a prequel to the Arthurian Legend, where the search for the Holy Grail plays a conspicuous part. Two years after publication, Warner Bros. released a feature adaptation of the book. The film starred Paul Newman, in his 1st studio role, as Basil the craftsman.
First published in 1952, this classic recounts the story of Basil, a young silversmith, who's commissioned by the apostle Luke to fashion a holder for the cup Jesus used at the Last Supper.
I read this book for school and it was definitely my favorite book that I read for school that year.
I don't remember the writing being bad (though I've been told that it isn't the greatest) because I was so into the story. The story is set in the Roman empire in early A.D. and part of it during the reign of Nero. The story starts with a prologue when Basil is a boy. It then follows Basil, a sculptor, who gets commissioned to make a silver chalice with the pictures of Jesus and twelve of the Apostles. The story follows Basil as he travels around the empire so he can sculpt the apostles faces. The third book (part) was my favorite part of this book and is the part where he travels to Rome. It was exciting and suspenseful, especially because I had to wait to read the next chapter. The fourth book wasn't as good as the first three but it ties everything up in a mostly satisfying way. I loved the characters in this story. There were also some personal story lines along with the main story line. There were several villains in this story, which since some were real people or acted like real people, were believable.
I saw the movie first and was very confused, so I was happy to finally understand the story. The movie did change the best part of the book. I really enjoyed this book and I have wanted to read it again, though I haven't. One reason I may have liked this book is because I like learning about this period of history. This book gives you a look at what the early Christians had to go through.
I would definitely recommend this book to people who like historical fiction.