I am a big fan of Christian Books Store's Bargain Book Bins. I mean, what a great way to fill your shelves without emptying your banks account. A few weeks ago I picked up John DeSimone's novel Leonardo's Chair from one such book bin. I had never heard of the book, or the author, but for $5.97 I thought I would take a chance.
Here is the Editorial Review of the book:
"Vincent LaBont is a world-class artist who attributes his creative ability to a chair he owns-a chair that he claims was created and empowered by Leonardo Da Vinci. When his home catches fire, Vincent is severely burned trying to rescue the chair. Later he realizes the chair was stolen before the house burned. Distraught that his creative abilities no longer exist without the chair, Vincent's son Paul, a painter himself, sets out for Italy where they suspect the chair has been taken. While Vincent contemplates his life in California without the chair, Paul grapples with his skepticism: Is Leonardo's chair real? Does it possess ancient power to create? Ultimately he, too, is seduced by the idea of the chair's power. Will he use the chair to recreate one of Leonardo's paintings? Will he become another anonymous copyist?"
Here is my review:
I was curious after reading the back of the book. Always a good sign! However, after taking my time with the actual reading, I wondered why I wasted my time, and my six dollars. The writing itself was not bad. There was wonderful description and good plot movement. What I found lacking was the Christian content. Paul, one of the main characters of the story, does have a "religious experience" while in a dark prison cell. He is spiritually moved by a copyist's version of Di Vinci's Last Supper. He feels that the eyes of Jesus spoke to him from the picture, and thus saved him from the curse of fire that the chair brings.
I have come to expect more from Christian fiction than for one character to have a religious experience. There was no Gospel, no salvation, no hope. Christian fiction should be a means to share the truth of the scripture. Only that truth will save from the real curse of fire that is on the lost of this world.