These essays have been written in a year-and-a-half period during which the novel was being developed. The author wrote his PhD dissertation (1975), on imaginative patterns in the Catholic novelist, so religious issues have long found expression in his work including That Kingdom Coming Business, his first book of poetry. A few months before this project began he traveled to northern Italy visiting churches, historical locations and reflecting on the traditions of the era. That experience also influenced his thinking and writing, which is grounded in the research of thousands of pages of historical documents.