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New York City, United States of America

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Aug 24, 2011 01:38 PM 8165 views



'Do you see the fifth mountain? From whichever side you look, it appears different, though it is the same mountain. Thus it is with all of Creation: many faces of the same God.'

To be the chosen one is not a bed of roses. To tread the path of God, to live in His Will and to carry out his Will; is the hardest job on the face of earth. Time after time, day after day, the Will and Strength is tested; what more your faith is tested. But still I believe, if one succeeds in keeping his/her faith intact, even if he/she fail in terms of Strength and will, one can carry on and fulfill his destiny, after all God is there to support you when you fall and hear you when you call.

Prophet Elijah’s tale covered in ‘The Fifth Mountain’ is one such tale of one man carrying out God’s work according to God’s Will, with Love and patience. But did his faith get tested? Of course it got tested, with the introduction of human love and sufferings in his life.

ABOUT THE STORY: Back in 350 BC, Jezebel, princess of Phoenicia, after marrying King Ahab of Israel plans to replace worship of Lord of Israel with that of Baal gods of Lebanon. She believes herself to be born only for the purpose of spreading the name of Baal Gods and convert people and nations.

Born to be a prophet, Elijah had visions of Angels and communication with them, all through his childhood, which his parents somehow try to suppress, and made him work as a carpenter. But who can make a Lion live as a Lamb for long, visions of Angel returns and Elijah is made to prophesize that according to the words of Lord “there shall be not be dew nor rain these years, but according to My word”. Hearing these, Jezebel orders the execution of all who refuse to accept Lebanon Gods and death for Elijah.

But as they say, ‘who can kill the One whom God has chosen to live and carry out His Work’, Elijah escapes persecution and flees to a city called Akbar in Lebanon wherein – in accordance with the words of Lord - he is supposed to dwell in the house of a widow with a son and learn the wisdom of life and the important lesson of rebuilding life before destroying it, until the right moment arrives.

Now, Akbar is under the threat of attack from Assyrian army that has already set it base around the city. The three men - deciders of Faith of the city – the Governor, the priest and the Commander of army differs in their opinion and leads Akbar towards its destruction. Elijah with time becomes an integral and important part of the city as a prophet from Israel – after climbing the Fifth mountain (abode of God where humans are forbidden), and bring a dead one back to life - and has also found the love of his life in the widow he is living with.

Can Elijah make peace prevail in the city and convince the people against wart? Chosen to carry out Lords work, Will Elijah allow himself to fall in love? Always doubtful of fulfilling his own destiny, will he be able to maintain his Faith when tested? And the biggest question of all, will he be able to dethrone Jezebel and bring the worship of Lord back in Israel? Read ‘The Fifth Mountain’ to know.

ABOUT THE BOOK: Written by Paulo Coelho ‘The Fifth Mountain’ was first published in 1998 and is author’s one of the best known work. It provides a fraction of Prophet Elijah’s life that covers his initial years in Israel, fleeing to Zarapeth (Akbar in book), and his testing as well as learning years over there during the destruction and rebuilding of the city. His major spiritual as well as prophetic achievements that followed afterwards in his life has only got a mention in the last few pages.

As with all PC’s book ‘The Fifth Mountain’ too is filled with words of wisdom and learning of lessons of life. Various quotes taken from the Bible and other religious books - concerning the life of Elijah – are given in the book, esp. the interactions of Elijah with Angels to bring it inline with the history. But there are quite a few things that seem to be fictious, like the introduction of Byblos (The Alphabets) and priest supporting the war so that all that is known about the Byblos will be forgotten with the coming of new generation after war. This and other such fictious concepts PC might have utilized to portray his own thoughts through the tale Elijah.

GOOD AND BAD : Paulo Coelho, the author who has done the work of whetting the appetite for me and made me interested into the world of writing with books like ‘The Alchemist’ and ‘The Zahir’. I would love to read any tale re-written in the words of PC. The language is simple and story always sticks to tale of Elijah, all other characters seem to be introduced for the fulfillment of Elijah’s destiny. Due to which there is less of dragging but at the same time the characters other than Elijah are not evolved properly and their side of the story remains incomplete.

Though I always love the stories filled with important quotes (words of wisdom), at times, I feel, PC has gone over the limit by giving too much detailed description of few of his concepts and thoughts that makes story lose its grip at times. I wish, instead of going too deep into this concepts of Faith and Love, if author could have covered more of Elijah’s life - atleast the part involving deposing of Jezebel and bringing back of Lords Faith in Israel – it would have made it a even better book; even if that means addition of 50 more pages.

But still looking at the sizes of his current books, and number of concepts covered within them with no link with the basic story, I must say ‘The Fifth Mountain’ is a great job done within a limit of 240 odd pages.

LAST WORDS: ‘The Fifth Mountain’ besides being the story of Prophet Elijah has lot more to offer. It’s an inspiring story of how Love and Faith can ultimately Triumph over Sufferings. Key learning is : A man, if strongly willed, can withstand a tragedy and rebuild his life once again. It’s written in very simple and poetic language that flows like a river. Only thing is, I believe, that story, towards the end, is not properly lead to its conclusion. The objective of Elijah’s destiny with which the story begins is concluded in very hastily manner towards the end. All said and done, it’s a book worth reading, for the message it delivers and all the wisdom it holds. I strongly recommend it.


P.S.1 : First two comments have some extracts from the book. They form good quotes as well as provide a good idea about the content of the book and the writing style of the author.

P.S.2 : Today - 24th August 2011 - marks the 64th Birth Anniversary of Paulo Coelho. This review is my tribute to one of my favorite Author on his special day.

Take Care and Keep Writing

Vikky Gural


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