Viaticum Press International

The Duke of One Shilling
By Francis Baumli
Publisher: Vatican Imprimatur Series

Price: $25.00
ISBI: VIS 001 05 3102 1948

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Placed in England during the 16th century, as that country’s religion was fast becoming Anglican, this novel concerns itself with the folly of battle, the complexity and vagaries of European politics at that time, but most important, it follows the interior journey of a pious, restless, and unfulfilled soul. The main character is a soldier, whose skill with the sword, along with his loyalty to his own Duke, allows him to rise from humble station and become a Duke himself. But his piety and self-doubt cause him to give up his dukedom and go on a journey that will culminate in a deepened capacity for both human and divine love.

As the novel’s postscript states, this soldier is a man we can hope to imitate because he “was not a great man, but he was a better man than most. He was not magnanimous in his charity, but he was more generous than most. He was not a holy man, but he was a more pious man than most.” If in some ways he was extraordinary, in most ways he was an ordinary man who strove mightily to better himself spiritually. The grand stature of a saint can intimidate us, but this man’s accomplishments serve as an example which we can aspire to. As we read, we can experience this soldier, Duke, and humble penitent as a gentle and instructive companion.

This is a Christian book; more specifically, it is a Catholic book; but its appeal is ecumenical. It plumbs the mystery, the meaning, and the mystical horizon of religious inclinations. As for what the reality is beyond these inclinations, the reader can decide.


“I mainly read history novels about wars and battles. I must say that I have never, ever come across a sword fight as gripping as the one in the middle of this book.” E.S.

“It isn’t a book about peace. I didn’t like the violence. However, that soldier’s role as a father, and how he went searching for his son, made me cry so much through the last half of the book I had trouble seeing the print.” L.F.

“It was amazing, what happened to a staunch atheist like myself. When I absorbed this book, I came away feeling that I had been in the presence of the holy. Never before have I yearned so much for a divinity I can not bring myself to believe in.” M.B.

“This is the most religious book I have ever read. It isn’t about Jesus and saints and the Bible and the gospels. There isn’t even any of the preachy tone usually found in books like this. It’s all about prayer and just trying to be a better person. I’d like to think that this book succeeded in making me a better person.” N.K.

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The Duke of One Shilling Cover