So I’m just gonna say it: This book is freaking adorable.
It really, truly is.
It follows the story of Santa Claus, from his humble beginnings as Nickolas the priest, to his later life as Father Christmas. It covers the course of about 1700 years so we get to see some of human history through his eyes. Which is fascinating!
His adventures take you all over Christendom, as Nickolas is a priest after all. And Santa does only go where the legend of Santa spreads. You watch as he encounters historical figures (most real, one or two not so much), places, and events. You see and experience these things through his eyes.
Now the book does shy away from some of the harsher realities that take place but also embraces others. Like the persecution of early Christians by the Roman empire. It’s not graphic though.
It’s very much a work of fiction but would stand up to some of the autobiographies I have read. It reads very much like a true story, and you find yourself getting swept up into the world of Saint Nickolas as a result.
I loved the way quiet way Nickolas moved through this world, just wanting to give gifts to those less fortunate than he. He was so determined to remain anonymous that he was well and truly shocked when gifts kept being given in his name.
His helpers are a ragtag bunch of interesting historical figures. From former slaves to warlords to priests to writers and many more! To give just one of them away would take the fun out of finding out for yourself.
You can tell Jeff Guinn, the author really did his research on various topics, religious beliefs, and peoples. He also happens to have a reference list in the back of the book just in case you wanted to doubt that he put in any research time on this book.
Cause he did.
And this book reads like a love letter to Santa Claus as a result.
To sum up, I truly loved this book. I thought it was well written and well researched. The characters were bright and vibrant. The world was colorful. The pacing was consistent throughout, which was nice. I can’t say it enough, I loved this book! 5 out of 5 stars.