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MadmanMadman
Tracy Groot
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Excerpt


Tallis, a philosopher's servant, is sent to a Greek academy in Palestine only to discover that it has silently disappeared. No one will tell him what happened, but he learns what has become of four of the scholars. One is murdered. One committed suicide. One now worships in the temple of Dionysus. And one...one is a madman.
     
Madman Discussion Questions by Tracy Groot

• Explain what Callimachus means when he tells Tallis “Do not fight the Maenads, fight what drives the Maenads.” Who or what drives the Maenads? In what way can we see parallels today with people caught in serious sin? For example, are alcoholism, child abuse, or murder completely human in origin or is there something evil in the spirit world that influences the behavior?

• Citizens of Scythopolis thought the Day of Dionysus was a holiday for drunkenness and dancing, and admired the fashionable Maenads. They were not aware that the cult practiced child sacrifice and cannibalism on the evening after the holiday. In what ways may something similar be happening in our culture today with the interest in Wicca, New age/eastern religions, or Islam? Are these religions pure or corrupt--practiced for good or for evil purposes--and how can we know for sure? Does it matter if some members of a religion practice evil, but some members of it practice good? Can good and evil co-exist, or does one eventually dominate? Who defines what is good and what is evil?

• “Quandocumque impellunt, repelle” “When they push, you push back.” What is the significance of the slave Samir’s statement about fighting the spirits? What about his two truths: that you can choose, and that you cannot choose for another? What can we choose? What does this ability to choose have to do with the plastered-over place inside Kardus? Or with Arinna’s decision to save little Zagreus? Or with Polonus’ decision to stop resisting evil voices?

• Four major characters and two minor ones all had mothers who were cult-practicing Maenads: Kardus, Kes, Tallis, Zagreus, Tallis’ younger brother Zagreus, and Alexander the Great. What choices did they make to follow or to resist the evil influence of their families, and what were the consequences in their lives? Are we responsible for our parents’ poor choices? Are we doomed to follow them, or can we choose differently?

• Much of the novel revolves around education. The school of the Decaphiloi was meant to bring the cultured learning of Greece to the rural areas of Palestine. Tallis and the scholar Polonus rely on their scrolls for wisdom. Kardus, before his descent into evil, was a brilliant scholar and proud of his brilliance. Yet the scholars’ education blinded them to truth in their lives. The Decaphiloi did not see the corrupting influence of Portia; Polonus, with all his wisdom, as well as the shamans he contacted were unable to cure Kardus; Kardus’ pride led him to make terrible choices; Tallis, despite his years of study, was still helpless in the presence of evil. What is the novelist trying to say about the limitations of human wisdom and learning?

• Who is Across the Sea and why do the demons inside Kardus fear Him? Why does He ask Kardus’ name? Kardus is set free, but the herd of pigs drowns. Why might the villagers have been anxious to send the Healer away following this exorcism? Why does He not allow Kardus to follow Him? Finally, what is the significance of the now healed Kardus adding “solum Jesu” to Samir’s phrase? And why does Tallis request to have his scrolls about Dionysus tossed into the sea?

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Discussion Question Index

A


 • Abigail: Jill Eileen Smith
 • Abigail's New Hope: Mary Ellis
 • Against All Odds: Irene Hannon
 • Against the Tide: Elizabeth Camden
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B


 • Blue Moon Promise: Colleen Coble
 • Blue Widow Brides: Maggie Brendan
 • Breach of Trust: DiAnn Mills
 • (The) Bridesmaid: Beverly Lewis
 • (The) Bridge: Karen Kingsbury
 • Brigid of Ireland: Cindy Thomson
 • Burn: Ted Dekker

C


 • (The) Calling: Suzanne Woods Fisher
 • (The) Chance: Karen Kingsbury
 • Chasing Mona Lisa: Tricia Goyer & Mike Yorkey
 • Chasing the Sun: Tracie Peterson
 • Choices of the Heart: Laurie Alice Eakes
 • Claudia, Wife of Pontius Pilate: Diana Wallis Taylor
 • Critical Care: Candace Calvert
 • Crossing Oceans: Gina Holmes

D


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 • Deadline: Randy Alcorn
 • Deadly Devotion: Sandra Orchard
 • Deadly Ties: Vicki Hinze
 • Deception: Randy Alcorn
 • (The) Dilemma of Charlotte Farrow: Olivia Newport
 • (The) Discovery: Dan Walsh
 •  Dolled Up to Die: Lorena McCourtney
 • Demon: A Memoir: Tosca Lee
 • Digitalis: Ronie Kendig
 • Dogwood: Chris Fabry
 • Double Minds: Terri Blackstock
 • Dying to Read: Lorena McCourtney

 F


 • Fair Is the Rose: Liz Curtis Higgs
 • Freefall: Kristen Heitzmann
 • Frontiersman's Daughter: Laura Frantz

G


 • Gift of Grace: Amy Clipston
 • Gone South: Meg Mosley
 • Grace: Shelley Shepard Gray

H


 • Havah; The Story of Eve: Tosca Lee
 • Heart's Safe Passage: Laurie Alice Eakes
 • Highland Sanctuary: Jennifer Hudson Taylor
 • Hope of Refuge: Cindy Woodsmall

I


 • Intervention: Terri Blackstock
 • Into the Whirlwind: Elizabeth Camden
 • Invisible: Ginny Yttrup
 • Iscariot: Tosca Lee

J


 • (The) Jewel of His Heart: Maggie Brendan
 • June Bug: Chris Fabry

 K


 • Katie's Way: Marta Perry
 • Killer Among Us: Lynette Eason

L


 • Lady in the Mist: Laurie Alice Eakes
 • Lady of Bolton Hill: Elizabeth Camden
 • Lady of Milkweed Manor: Julie Klassen
 • (A) Lasting Impression: Tamera Alexander
 • Leah's Choice: Marta Perry
 • The Lesson: Suzanne Woods Fisher
 • Lethal Remedy: Richard Mabry
 • Life in Defiance: MaryLu Tyndall
 • Like Dandelion Dust: Karen Kingsbury
 • Lonestar Sanctuary: Colleen Coble
 • Lonestar Secrets: Colleen Coble
 • Love Amid the Ashes: Mesu Andrews
 • Love at Any Cost: By Julie Lessman
 • Love Calls: Lorna Sielstad
 • Love in a Broken Vessel: Mesu Andrews

M

 • Making Waves: Lorna Sielstad
 • (A) Memory Between Us: Sarah Sundin
 • Moon in the Mango Tree: Pamela Ewen
 • Moonlight Masquerade: Ruth Axtell
 • (A) Most Peculiar Circumstance: Jen Turano
 • My Heart Remembers: Kim Vogel Sawyer

N


 • Naomi's Gift: Amy Clipston
 • Never Far From Home: Mary Ellis
 • Nightshade: by Ronie Kendig
 • No Place for a Lady: Maggie Brendan
 • (A) Noble Groom: Jody Hedlund

O


P


 • Paper Roses, by Amanda Cabot
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 • Preacher's Bride: Jody Hedlund
 • Promise of an Angel: Ruth Reid


R


 • Rebekah: by Jill Eileen Smith
 • Redeeming Love: Francine Rivers
 • Redemption: Karen Kingsbury & Gary Smalley
 • (A) Reluctant Queen: Joan Wolf
 • Remember to Forget: Deborah Raney
 • Remembered: Tamera Alexander

S


 • Sarah's Gift: Marta Perry
 • Shadows of the Past: Patricia Bradley
 • Simple Choices: Nancy Mehl
 • Simple Deceit: Nancy Mehl
 • Slow Moon Rising: Eva Marie Everson
 • Someone to Blame: Susanne Lakin
 • A Sound Among the Trees: Susan Meissner
 • The Sweetest Thing: Elizabeth Musser

T


 • Tailor Made Bride: Karen Witemeyer
 • That Certain Summer: Irene Hannon