Lost Mission, a literary novel by Athol Dickson, begins with the story of Catholic missionaries traveling to California to teach their religion to the Indians. Each chapter begins with a portion of their story, and then transitions into modern times to tell the tale of a Mexican woman named Lupe who believes she is supposed to save Americans from their depravity by spreading her Catholic faith.
Several subplots are entwined with Lupe’s story. One is about a wealthy religious fanatic and his daughter; another is about the minister who falls in love with Lupe after she enters the United States illegally. Each of them experience hardships that test their faith and reveal the evil side of human nature.
My favorite part is the historical depiction of the missionaries and Indians. Though depressing, it gives a vivid picture of what life might have been like for them, and illustrates the vast difference in their cultures and beliefs. I don’t want to give away the plot twists so won’t say more about what happens, but it was well-written and believable.
From the book jacket and website, I expected a fast-paced thriller, and that is not at all this book’s style. The author builds the story slowly, and switches between the characters’ viewpoints regularly. The tone is excessively moralistic, in my opinion, but that may appeal to some people. It’s thought provoking at times, but not a book to read if your goal is to be pleasantly entertained.
For more about this book, visit the author’s website: http://www.atholdickson.com/
The publisher, Howard Books (Simon and Schuster), sent me Lost Mission to review, but I was not paid by them. My comments reflect my personal opinion of this book.