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The Fifth Mountain by Paulo Coelho

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The Fifth Mountain by Paulo Coelho

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The Fifth Mountain by Paulo Coelho was published in 1996 and was his fourth major publication.

The story is based on the story of Elijah from the Judeo-Christian Bible (1 Kings chapters 17-19). The focus is on Elijah's time in Zarephath (in this book named Akbar). Much has been added to the simple Bible story by Coelho, including Elijah witnessing the sacking of Akbar by the Assyrians, Elijah's journey up the Fifth Mountain itself (said to be the dwelling place of Baal), and Elijah's falling in love with the widow to whom God sent him.

This story may be considered religious in focus, despite a strong focus on the theme of rebellion against God. In this book, Coelho has explored the manner in which questioning authority, rebellion and 'thinking for oneself' is important in one's relationship with God.

 Plot summary

For a considerable portion of the story Elijah is very compliant, obeying everything God's angels say. Eventually he realises that his destiny is not being chosen by him but by God. Ultimately he decides to do go by his own desires and will. In this way Coelho suggests that Elijah was able to reach an ultimate level of spiritual awareness and have the most powerful relationship with God.


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