I began this book appropriately on St. Patrick's Day and by the following day was almost half done. This is much the most interesting and readable book I've read so far by Lawhead. (Right now, I am reading Merlin and that would be a close second so far).
Over the bare bones of what is actually known about Ireland's patron saint, Lawhead spreads a fully embodied coat of flesh, told in the first person, from which comes its ease of reading and liking the future saint. The Roman-British Succat goes by several names throughout his life; only the last is the one he is known by: Patricius. After Irish raiders capture him, he first demands to be ransomed back to his family. Unfortunately no one understands his Latin, and he does not speak Irish. He becomes a slave instead, a sheepherder and briefly a stable boy. He abandons his Christian faith after God does not answer his plea bargain for rescue. Or at least He does not answer in the way Succat wishes. Over time, he learns the Irish tongue, makes three unsuccessful escape attempts, and has his life saved more than once by a druid. He takes a lover who he knows he will abandon once he makes yet another try at escape. In the meantime, he serves the druids and asks for training in their ways. This is not because becoming one interests him, but he sees it as a way to escape back home.
But is there really a home for him after all these years except in the God he has rejected, but Who has not rejected him?
After a stint in the Roman army, Succat works toward becoming a senator. But tragedy strikes and only after despair crushes him, does he offer himself back to God. He hears a call to return to Ireland, where he is still considered an escaped slave, but where he realizes his true freedom lies.
This story shows God can use any sinner for His greater glory and to bring more souls to Him. God bless St. Patrick!