The Silver Chalice by Thomas B. Costain is a spectacular story which takes place about twenty years after Jesus ascended into Heaven. It tells of how a young man named Basil was adopted by a rich merchant. But, when the rich merchant died, Basil?s cousin stole Basil?s inheritance; and made him a slave. After a few years he was to be rescued, married, and to gain back his inheritance.
The story begins when a rich merchant named Ignatius asked Theron, a seller of pens, if he was willing to give Ambrose up for adoption. The reason he chose Ambrose was because Ignatius loved the talent which enabled Ambrose to create such beautiful masterpieces of silver, clay, and wood. Theron gave his son Ambrose up for adoption only for one reason, because he was too poor to take good care of him. They made sure that the procedure of the adoption was followed to the letter of the law of the Twelve Tables. As a proof of the adoption, Ignatius gave each of the witnesses a belt. The name of Basil( Ignatius changed Ambrose?s name to Basil in honor of his father), and the date. Basil loved his new father, and became very devoted to hi
Basil?s father passed away about three years after the adoption. Basil was heart broken. Even the servants grieved of his death. But the only person who was filled with ecstasy upon hearing the news, was Linus. He was Basil?s cousin. Little did Basil know how much his heart would harden against his cousin.
Linus wanted the rich inheritance of his cousin, so he decided make it seem that he was never adopted as a son, but as a slave. By bribing the witnesses of the adoption to lie, Linus won the case. Basil was stripped of his inheritance, and was sold as a slave to a silver smith. The Silver Smith was a nice man, but his wife was meaner than a pack of wolves. She made Basil and the other slaves work past their limits. There, Basil met a slave girl named Agnes. She helped Basil deal with his losses and comforted him. She told him that if you pray and believe, you will be set free. Basil decided to pray. He prayed long and hard. What a surprise to see that his prayers were answered!
That very night an old man knocked on the door of the silver smith?s house. The cruel wife answered the knock. ?Did you want to buy something?? ?No, but I have come to buy your slave, Basil.? replied the old man. The wife found out that the old man?s name was Luke and she also found out that he was a doctor. It took much fighting and offers to convince them to sell Basil. When Basil packed what was his, they were on their way.
After a long hard journey to Jerusalem, Basil and Luke entered into a large, elegant, beautiful house of Joseph of Arimathia. He was the richest man alive; he was also known as a major financial supporter of Christianity. Basil felt greatly indebted to this man when he found out that Joseph arranged the purchase of his freedom. But why did Joseph choose to buy his freedom? He was to find out about six months later.
After that period of time passed, Basil was asked to go to the bedroom of Joseph of Arimathia. ?You have proved yourself, Basil, you have proved to me the existence of your wonderful talent. I have a cup that was given to me many years ago. I want you to build a frame that contains the faces of the apostles and of the Holy One, Jesus.? Basil also found out that the cup was the cup that was used for The Last Supper.
Basil set to work on the chalice. He was to travel to many places. This was necessary so that he could record the faces of the Apostles which were to be recorded on the frame that the silver cup was to be put into. Basil was glad that he had a chance to travel. The reason was because he would stop by Antioch ( the city where Basil was born) and go to court to fight for the retrieval his inheritance.
While he was at work on the chalice, he met Joseph?s granddaughter, Deborra. She lived with her old grandfather because he needed her help walking, remembering to take medicines, ect. Deborra was sixteen years old, not much younger than Basil who was seventeen. Little did Basil know that Deborra was going to be more than just a friend.
Basil was half way done with the chalice when something tragic happened, Joseph of Arimathia died. During the last weeks of Joseph?s life, the evil hearted priest of the temple wanted the chalice so that he could break it into pieces himself. The priest made sure that guards were kept near the house of Joseph so that when they hear the news of Joseph?s death, they can go in, take the chalice and destroy it. The counselors of Joseph told Deborra and Basil that if they were to get married, the hances of getting back the inheritance of Basil and the chances of Deborra keeping the inheritance( Deborra?s father was the son of Joseph, but Joseph didn?t want his son to receive the inheritance, he wanted Deborra to have the great inheritance for life his son would squander the inheritance) would be greater. By this time, Basil and Deborra grew to love each other and because of this great love, they got married. Knowing that the priest would want to take the chalice, the counselors told Basil and Derra to flee with the chalice to Basil?s birthplace, Antioch.
When they reached Antioch, a wonderful home was waiting for the newly wed couple and for Luke who was invited to stay with them. It took them a few days to settle down into their permanent home. In a workroom, Basil was often found working on the chalice day and night. So much that Deborra sometimes questioned the importance of the chalice, but she would not bother him because she knew that many people were counting on the finishing of the chalice before danger towers over them. Little did they know that danger was one step ahead of them.
After many weeks of traveling to places and working, Basil was finally done with the chalice. Luke agreed with the counselors to put the sacred silver chalice on display. The rules were that only three people could see it at a time. This rule prevented anybody from pilfering the silver chalice. There were many attempts, but each of them failed.
One day an old lady asked to see the silver chalice. But a guardian of the silver chalice recognized the voice as the voice of a leader of a small group of men which numbered to about seventy-five whose mission was to take the chalice to the priest. ?You tricker!? said the guard. He took a shovel and tried to kill the impostor. But the group of people behind the leader were well armed and fought their way through, went to the room where the chalice was on display, and left with the it.
Basil was gone at the time the incident took place. But when he returned home, he found Luke the Physician tending on a person. Basil quickly ran toward Luke, devastated to find that the person was his own wife. ?She?s not badly hurt, just a couple of bruises.? replied Luke. Basil blamed himself for not being there to make sure that she was safe from harm. But his wife comforted him. Thinking that something happened to the chalice, he asked, ?Is the chalice safe?? Luke told Basil that the chalice was stolen, and he told him how it happened. You would think that this would of made him even angrier at himself, but it didn?t. Strangely enough, he felt peaceful about what happened to the silver chalice.
?God just told me that the chalice will be found, but years later, there will be a convulsion of nature of some kind; and it will be buried deep down the earth and lie there perhaps for centuries.? replied Luke.
I loved reading The Silver Chalice because it kept me on the edge of my seat through the very end. Anyone would enjoy reading this book. It showed me that God does answer prayers like he did with Basil when he prayed for his freedom. This book is filled with humor, sadness, hope, and mystery. Again, I would recommend this to anyone.