Father Sebastian Rodrigues and two other Portuguese missionary priests ignore the advice of their superiors and illicitly enter a hostile Japan.It is the early part of the 17th Century. Christianity is anathema in Japan. Anyone suspected of being a Christian is imprisoned and forced to trample on an image of Christ in order to avoid death. Those who refuse face a series of horrific tortures, one of which is 'the pit'. There they are hung upside down for days on end until they either apostatize, i.e. deny Christ, or die.Will Rodrigues have the courage to cling to his faith when faced by the cruel prosecutor, Inoue,who is the architect of some of the worst tortures? Rodrigues, and the reader, are faced with the question, 'Why does God, if he exists, remain silent when those who worship him are forced to suffer so much?' Is it right to preach a gospel which brings not only the hope of eternal life life to those who convert but unimaginable pain and trouble? This is an exciting and thought-provoking book. Its only flaw is the over-labouring of the parallels between the priest's suffering and that of Christ.