The Five Stones: A Tale for Young Catholics.
Dedo, 14, is diverted on his first foray outside his Portuguese village, and finds himself in the centre of bizarre adventures. Suddenly he is in London pursued by a mysterious woman and sinister men, then Istanbul, then shipwrecked in the Aegean; he is taken for dead in Rome but emerges to visit Tunisia and Morocco before returning to Portugal. Throughout all his armour is the Rosary. More
Why is a Portuguese schoolboy desperate to see the Pope? What is the significance of the Five Stones that give the name, Cincopedras, to his village? How do the ashes of the Phoenix prevent a murder? The answers are revealed in the story of Dedo, who finds himself being chased through Europe by a sinister gang, on a mission which starts at the tomb of the Blessed Virgin at Ephesus.
This book is a fable for modern youth. Dedo, a simple Portuguese peasant boy, who wants to be a priest and who has a wise donkey who talks to him, goes through amazing adventures pursued by an evil Baron.
The latter tries to bribe the boy with promises of great wealth and importance in order to possess him, but is continually thwarted by Dedo's honesty and simplicity. He gives the boy a present, a money-bag which he has to wear at all times; it is empty but whenever Dedo needs money, the right currency is always there - except when he wants to be generous to the poor.
The boy is fooled, robbed and exploited but learns to discriminate and to draw salutary lessons from his experiences.
The setting of the story moves around Europe, including London; Dedo also manages to meet the Pope, in a confessional in the Vatican, and the Pope writes a personal letter to the seminary to accept him, despite the machinations of the Evil Baron who wants to prevent it.
There is a beautiful religious thread running through the book. The hero is a Catholic who likes visiting churches and saying his Rosary and who goes to Confession. He is certainly no sissy; Dedo really experiences the cross, evil is allowed to do a lot of harm to him but he has faith, courage, and common-sense, and a strong hold on morals.
In the end he has been faithful to his Rosary and decides that, notwithstanding the "magic" of his money-bag, it is the rosary that has protected him and which has been the true source of his riches.
He is a good role model for modern teenagers - guarding against exploitation without being rude, learning whom to trust and resisting
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