A Lost Tribe is a novel that charts the role of the priest in Ireland, from his exalted position to one of anendangered species. The seminarians at St Paul’s are granted permission to watch the opening ofVatican II, transfixed by the procession of bishops ‘vested in flowing robes’. Seduced by the poweremanating from Rome and inspired by the vision of the Vatican Council, these young men sacrifice theirinstincts to a life in the priesthood.The dream collapses when the Irish Church becomes unwilling to evolve with a rapidly mutating worldand unable to wield the power it once had. As people begin to think for themselves, the priest no longerexists as the final arbiter of right and wrong, the moral stronghold of the community. Unable to copewith the pressures of ministry and no longer fulfilled by their call, many abandon their vocation to seeka new life.Mac, a spirited young student, is disillusioned with the inadequacy of his seminary training and isexpelled for a tryst, while timid fellow priests share remedies for the collective loneliness of theirvocation.
King’s daring novel offers an insight into the conflicted life of the priest struggling with thedemands of a self-selected lifestyle and the isolation of clerical celibacy. A Lost Tribe is a poignant studyof an altered society.