Sunday, April 8, 2012

On My Bookshelves #23: The Robe, by Lloyd C. Douglas

Wishing all of you a 
very happy and blessed Easter!!

My Sunday book meme
highlights books that I own,
but have somehow never gotten to,
as well as those wonderful books
I would love to re-read!!

Today, in honor of Easter Sunday,
I'd like to feature a very moving classic
that I read years ago,
and am definitely planning
to re-read!!

Trade Paperback, 528 pages
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
April 7, 1999
(first published 1942)
Genres: Christian Fiction,
Historical Fiction

From the Goodreads Synopsis

A Roman soldier, Marcellus, wins Christ's robe as a gambling prize. He then sets forth on a quest to find the truth about the Nazarene's robe-a quest that reaches to the very roots and heart of Christianity and is set against the vividly limned background of ancient Rome. Here is a timeless story of adventure, faith, and romance, a tale of spiritual longing and ultimate redemption.

Lloyd C. Douglas
(Aug. 27, 1877 - Feb. 13, 1951)

This novel made a lasting impression on me when I first read it, back in high school.  I was so disappointed with the movie version!  It was filmed back in the 1950's, and starred Richard Burton.  The main reason for my disappointment was the changes made by the filmmaker to the personality of Marcellus, the central character, who was played by Burton.  As originally conceived by Douglas, Marcellus was not a really bad person; he was just a rather worldly, spoiled rich kid, with not a care in the world -- apparently.  Underneath his happy-go-lucky exterior, he was deeply disturbed by the blatant depravity and corruption in the Roman society of his time.   He masked his moral uneasiness with carefree living, until he came across a very unusual garment -- the robe.

The film version of Marcellus, in contrast, is a thoroughly detestable character, callous and cruel, fitting the stereotype of the brutal Roman soldier of that era.  He undergoes a remarkable transformation due to his encounter with Christ's robe.  I suppose the filmmaker wanted to have a more dramatic story, but I much prefer the character Douglas created. 

The novel tells the story of one man's journey to find meaning in life, and his willingness to lay everything on the line for his newfound faith.  It is wonderfully inspiring reading, and I would recommend it to anyone wishing to feel uplifted and renewed, or to those who, like Marcellus, are seeking the ultimate meaning to the riddle of existence.


  1. You're very welcome! Thanks for commenting!! Happy Easter!! : )

  2. I am so glad that you posted this. I recently tried the movie and didn't care for it. I was not aware that it was a book, otherwise I would have tried that first. Now I now and will have to give the book a try. Thank you.
    - FABR Steph

    1. Hey, there! Oh, the book is SO much better than the movie!!! I'm sure you'll LOVE it! I have it somewhere among the more than 2,000 books (this is a rough estimate) that I own... since I have no idea where it might be, I've ordered another copy from Amazon, because I want to re-read it SO badly! I've been meaning to do so for years now...

      Even Demetrius, who is Marcellus's slave in the book and the movie, is portrayed much better in the book. I really wish they would make a new movie of this novel! But I don't think that's going to happen anytime soon, because Biblical-type movies are just not very popular these days, unfortunately.

      Hope you get the book & start enjoying it soon! Thanks for the comment, and you're welcome, as well!! : )


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