A BOOK FOR ALL LOVERS OF HISTORICAL LITERARY FICTION - BELIEVERS AND AGNOSTICS ALIKE: If you are a Christian, nothing in the book will offend you. If you are an atheist, the human drama of the religious transformation will nevertheless fascinate you.
DRAMATIZES, IN FULLY REALISTIC TERMS, THE UTTERLY UNLIKELY (PERHAPS MIRACULOUS?) RISE OF CHRISTIANITY, ONE OF THE GREATEST STORIES EVER TOLD (AS IT WERE).
IN SOME WAYS BOTH A ROAD NOVEL AND A BUDDY MOVIE: As the Apostle Paul (all passion and vision) and the Gospel writer Luke (a physician and cooler head) travel the ancient world, getting into dangerous scrapes and solidifying their bond of friendship.
BASED ON A FIRM FOUNDATION OF BIBLICAL SCHOLARSHIP AND THEOLOGICAL DOCTRINE: As readers of his excellent brief biography of Jesus know, Jay Parini is deeply grounded in the history of early Christianity, and that authenticity graces every page of this novel.
“Passionate…There is an undeniable thrill in picturing these men making up rules on the fly that will not only define Christianity but shape the world as we know it today.”
—The Wall Street Journal
“St. Paul is one of the most controversial characters in history. Did he ruin the simple message of Jesus? Or was he the person mainly responsible for transforming that message into a universal faith? What was he really trying to do? Of all the many books I have read about this “Apostle to the Gentiles,” Parini’s was the most helpful by far. Its premise is that we cannot understand Paul’s thought without knowing something about his life and times. Parini gives us both of these in splendidly readable biographical form. He made Paul live for me.”
—Harvey Cox, Hollis Professor of Divinity Emeritus, Harvard University
“Fantastic…Parini has produced a stellar novel that humanizes the Christian message and its messengers.”
—Publishers Weekly, starred review
“Jay Parini has found his own uniquely potent way of remaking the historical novel. He digs into the layers of history, into so-called real characters. They become more real in his work, hyperreal, parts of our own conflicted souls.”
“Parini enlivens a narrative familiar to many with fine scenes and writerly touches…An exceptional character study.”
“Jay Parini has written a blockbuster destined to become a classic. A thrilling story of spirituality in the midst of fire and torture, a page-turner that takes the reader from the gutter to the heavens…A book for our time and our transcendent times to come.”
“Sweeping in scope, yet as intimate as a breath…Few [stories] are written with the intense detail and keen insight that Parini provides…The beauty of [Parini’s] language is everywhere…A deeply intimate portrait…Earthy and transcendent.”
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