As the Sparks Fly Upward
Young Colin Winslow grows up feeling altogether different from the rest of his family. Not bold and rough like his charismatic brother, Adam, or headstrong and spoiled like his sister, Adara, he is a gentle soul with a special love for natural things. His interest in animals, medicine, and healing brings him in contact with a strange woman who lives in the woods, Meg Caradoc. She teaches him the fine art of using a variety of herbs to quell sickness and pain.
When Colin studies at Oxford, an eccentric but brilliant professor, Dr. Phineas Teague, guides the young man to a career in medicine. The formal knowledge Professor Teague imparts, combined with knowledge of Meg's herbal remedies, make Colin an insightful and successful doctor—one with the approving eye of Queen Elizabeth on him. Colin’s skill quickly earns him many patients, some highly placed in the courts of both his queen and her sister Mary Queen of Scots. This once shy and uncertain young man finds himself in the midst of court intrigue and a key player in quelling assassination plots and passing vital information to the queen’s court. When Colin faces his most difficult case—curing the wounds his brave brother suffered in battle—he must confront his attraction to Adam’s wife, his unsteady faith in God, and his command of medicine: will he abandon his noble role and succumb to temptation, or will he take his place as the new hero of the Breed of Winslow?
Reading Group Guide
Topics & Questions for Discussion
1. In this novel, much of the material deals with marriage. In the first chapter, we see Eden and Brandon alone, and much is made of the happiness of their marriage. Do you think their fine relationship is possible, that is, is it realistic? Is too much space in the novel devoted to this theme?
2. In the first chapter we see Adam Winslow, age eight, taking advantage of his brother, Colin, age six. Does the scene foreshadow the characters of the two men well? Is, for instance, Adam painted as evil and Colin as good?
3. Queen Elizabeth has been the heroine of a plethora of novels. Is the queen (as we see her in this novel) (a) kind, (b) cruel, (c) heartless, (d) selfish? How closely does the character in this novel reflect the historical Queen Elizabeth?
4. Colin Winslow is not normal in the eyes of his parents. He does not fit into the usual pattern that most young men follow. This disturbs his parents greatly. What is to be done with a child who cannot seem to "fit in" with his world? Should parents force him into the see more