Books: Angry Prophet

GOD'S MAN by Duncan Norton-Taylor

Baker; 298 pages; $8.95

Martin Luther was the lightning of the Protestant Reformation; John Calvin was its thunder. John was only eight in 1517 when the 95 theses were nailed up on a Wittenberg church door. Within 30 years he would rise to succeed Luther as leader of the Reformation, codifying what the master often conveyed with rhetoric. Calvin's lifelong opus, Institutes of the Christian Religion, as he boasts in this vigorous biographical novel, grew to be as long as ''the Old Testament plus a good part of the New."

Those teachings soon overshadowed their God-struck author. John...

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