Welcome to my new novel, Bishop Myriel: In His Own Words–a novel based on the life and writings of a fictional nineteenth century character created by Victor Hugo. Reviewer Judith Ingram (author of Forgiving Day by Day) calls Bishop Myriel “a stunning achievement!”
The whole world loves Hugo’s Les Miserables. Millions on every continent have flocked to the stage/musical version of this beloved story of a man who lost 19 years of his life for stealing a loaf of bread to feed his sister’s starving children. As a new parolee, he was a pariah in “decent” society.
Desperately hungry, Jean Valjean knocks on a door in the city of Digne, France, hoping to find help. When the door opens, he blurts out, “My name is Jean Valjean. I was a prisoner on the galleys. Number 24601.” The man behind the door is an elderly bishop who invites him in to rest and dine with him. Best of all, the bishop invites him to spend the night in a comfortable bed.
During the night, Valjean repays the bishop’s generosity by stealing his benefactor’s precious silver dinnerware and disappearing. In the morning, he is caught and hauled back to the bishop’s house. The bishop tells the authorities that the “stolen” items were gifts, not a theft. The dubious police dare not contradict the bishop. Freed and gifted, Valjean prepares to depart. It is then that the bishop offers these immortal words, “Remember, with this silver I have bought your soul and given it to God.”
With that, the stage is set for Jean Valjean’s transformation from convicted felon–a human animal–to a life of unending gratitude, right living, and immense compassion for the poor and downtrodden (les miserables). Bishop Myriel knows nothing of this, because he never sees or hears from Valjean again (until Valjean’s deathbed scene, as a guardian spirit).
Victor Hugo states that the bishop wanted to write a book on Christian duty. The author goes on to provide a detailed outline of the book, then adds that it remained unwritten.
In Bishop Myriel: In His Own Words, I have dared to “channel” the saintly bishop’s mind and written the book that remained unfinished in his lifetime. I invite you into this fictional world created by both Victor Hugo–and me in his footsteps.
The book is now available on Amazon.com in both paper and ebook formats.
IngramSparks has published the paperback for sale in your local bookstores.