Plot, not spirituality, drives Dan Millman’s third Peaceful Warrior novel
Rating: 3 1/2 out of 5 stars
The first book in the Peaceful Warrior saga by Dan Millman, this 2005 novel brings into focus the forces that shaped Socrates, Millman’s spiritual mentor. The story starts slow but builds to a satisfying climax. Although the spiritual content is not as compelling as Millman’s previous two novels, the book is still a compelling, entertaining read.
Story: Sergei was three when the soldiers took him. At fifteen he fled into the wilderness, with nothing to cling to but the memories of a grandfather who called him Socrates and the promise of a gift buried near St. Petersburg. Thus begins The Journeys of Socrates — an odyssey that forged the character of Sergei Ivanov, whose story would one day change the lives of millions of readers worldwide. This saga of courage and faith, of love and loss, reveals the arts of war and the path to peace. (From amazon.com)
Spiritual/metaphysical content: Medium. This novel is more about the narrative than the spiritual journey compared to Millman’s first two Peaceful Warrior books. As Socrates’ education moves beyond battle skills and he begins his spiritual training, we see how he evolved to become the peaceful warrior who later mentored Millman. The book demonstrates that warrior training is holistic, requiring growth in mind, body, and spirit. Combat training becomes a way of life, a path to illumination. Although Socrates’ training with the monks reveals some fascinating insights into the mind/body connection, to someone familiar to Millman’s first two books, this novel doesn’t offer much new insight.
My take: Millman shifts gears with this novel and delivers a page-turner of a plot by comparison to his earlier work. The revelations at the end of the book are stunning and satisfying. However, this is not his most polished piece of work. The plot is structured chronologically, so we experience his childhood in pre-revolution Russia for much too long before the story starts to sizzle. Millman’s period research is fascinating, with details about the Cossack and Jewish minorities that bring the story alive. Readers new to Dan Millman should first read Way of the Peaceful Warrior before starting this book.
Details: The Journeys of Socrates, by Dan Millman
Paperback, 335 pages
Buy at Amazon