New York Times bestselling author Philip Caputo tells the story of a Franciscan priest struggling to walk a moral path through the shifting and fatal realities of an isolated Mexican village
The Mexican village of San Patricio is being menaced by a bizarre, cultish drug cartel infamous for its brutality. As the townspeople try to defend themselves by forming a vigilante group, the Mexican army and police have their own ways of fighting back. Into this volatile mix of forces for good and evil (and sometimes both) steps an unlikely broker for peace: Timothy Riordan, an American missionary priest who must decide whether to betray his vows to stop the unspeakable violence and help the people he has pledged to protect.
Riordan’s fellow expatriate Lisette Moreno serves the region in a different way, as a doctor who makes “house calls” to impoverished settlements, advocating modern medicine to a traditional society wary of outsiders. To gain acceptance, she must keep secret her rocky love affair with artist Pamela Childress, whose troubled emotions lead Moreno to question their relationship.
Together, Lisette and Riordan tend to their community. But when Riordan oversteps the bounds of his position, his personal crisis echoes the impossible choices facing a nation beset by instability and bloodshed.
Based on actual events, propelled by moral conflict, and animated by a keen and discerning sensibility, Some Rise by Sin demonstrates yet again Philip Caputo’s generous and insightful gifts as a storyteller.
Expanding on several of the themes of his 2009 novel Crossers, Caputo s latest is a thought-provoking story of unthinkable brutality. Former art history professor Timothy Riordan is the Catholic pastor of San Patricio, a remote village in the Mexican state of Sonora. The foothills of the Sierra Madre range in which San Patricio is located are torn by violent conflicts between drug cartels, local militias, the federal army, and police. Widely respected by the townspeople, Riordan also has the ear of military and intelligence authorities. But rather than helping him fulfill his call to serve and save his flock, Riordan s network of connections produces deepening moral dilemmas. How, if at all, should information gained from positions of trust including the confessional be used in the hope of ameliorating suffering? What is the meaning of God in an apparently demonic world? As an emerging cartel called the Brotherhood wraps trafficking, murder, and mutilation in religious imagery, Riordan faces decisions that test him. A secondary narrative about expat doctor Lisette Moreno never fully gels, and the intricacies of Mexico s shifting power balance can be difficult to follow. Yet poised as he is between unforgiving vows, lofty ideals, and searing chaos, Caputo s Riordan is an everyman whose struggles illuminate the contradictions of human nature and the mysteries of faith.