This vivid novel presents the early life of the prophet Ezekiel, from his childhood to his service in the Temple to the Babylonian Captivity, where he was enslaved among the exiles along the River Chebar.
Ezekiel, a bricklayer, is simple and timid. He is not yet a priest, and his visions have not yet begun. He stands in the midst of the Jewish exiles as they struggle to build a town of their own, to remain faithful to God's covenant without the Temple, and to discern the various forces that threaten to divide them and erode their faith. All of these experiences flow like streams into Ezekiel's later mission to rally his people from inner destruction.
What makes a prophet? Why was this man chosen? Michael O’Brien offers an intimate glimpse into the mind and heart of a visionary.
"Michael O'Brien is a superior spiritual storyteller worthy to join the ranks of Flannery O'Connor, Graham Greene, Evelyn Waugh, and C. S. Lewis."
—Peter Kreeft, Author, Three Philosophies of Life; Professor of Philosophy, Boston College
"Of the many characters in the Old Testament, the prophet Ezekiel is often regarded (and disregarded) as the most bizarre. Yet Michael O’Brien reimagines his life with enormous sympathy. Beautifully crafted and thoroughly researched, this novel tells the fascinating story of a very fascinating man."
—Fr. Augustine Wetta, O.S.B., Author, Humility Rules
“The novel is so vivid that we too are caught up alongside the captive sage as he slogs, barefoot and beaten, into Babylonian exile. His story teaches us how to survive—even thrive—when worldly hopes slide to ruin, by entrusting heart and will to God's own divine plan.”
—David Pinault, Author, Providence Blue: A Fantasy Quest and The Crucifix on Mecca’s Front Porch
“With this book, O’Brien reminds us why he’s become the greatest storyteller of our times: he brings us crucified heroes like Ezekiel, the kindly bricklayer and builder of small bonfires of hope in a demonically oppressed land. Perhaps most vitally, O’Brien urges his numberless readers to confront the expanding Babylon of today.”
—Kevin Wells, Author, Priest and Beggar: The Heroic Life of Venerable Aloysius Schwartz
"By the Rivers of Babylon sifts the false prophet's saccharine ‘Peace!’ from the true honeyed scroll that is hard to stomach. Michael O'Brien's fictional exegesis of the book of Ezekiel does the leg work of contemplation for us, enfleshing the historical and entering the mystical, mingling psychological perspicacity with the Most High's unspeakable mysteries.”
—Joshua Hren, Author, Infinite Regress: A Novel and Contemplative Realism: A Theological-Aesthetical Manifesto