Set in the sweaty Mexican state of Tabasco in the 1930’s, this story chronicles the tale of a renegade “whisky priest” on the run from the Federales during the government’s great purge to eradicate the Catholic Church in Mexico. As the priest flees from one hiding spot to another, from the jungle rivers and banana sheds to small mountain villages, he struggles with his own existence, begging to be caught and spare his co-conspirators, and himself, further suffering and hardship. Yet, at the same time, he's unable to surrender to the state and give up on his priestly calling and duty to God even as great suffering is inflicted upon his former parishioners for harboring him.
For Greene, the absolutes of good and evil and -even morality- are hardly black and white and he makes his living in the gray area of everyday life. His protagonists are neither good nor bad, and even his antagonists are acting on behalf of what they believe to be honorable intentions. But weakness in his characters thoughts and actions tend to distort their intent and produce regrettable results. It’s these moments of weakness that create the conflict that drives Greene’s writing, as he continually asks us: is it our frailties or our strengths that define us as humans?
A brilliant back-drop, compelling character struggle and the immense literary talents of a master of the craft make The Power and Glory one of our favorite novels of all time.