The Historical Novel Society is highly respected in the field of historical fiction. They offer an online presence and also publish two prestigious print magazines, The Historical Novels Review (quarterly), and Solander (twice yearly). Thus, I am delighted to report that they have offered a very favorable review of my work, A Wretched Man, a novel of Paul the Apostle.
Here is their review, verbatim:
In A Wretched Man, Holmen remains faithful to the historical origins of Christianity in the first century C.E. while weaving an intriguing tale of discord between James and Paul—a discord paralleled by Paul’s own internal conflict with his “unclean” inclinations. The suggestion of homosexuality as the thorn in Paul’s flesh is skillfully incorporated into the tale without being overwhelming.
James, the younger brother of Jesus, has assumed the burdens of his brother, first while he is away teaching and then when he is crucified. He must care for their mother Mary and younger brothers as well as provide leadership to Jesus’ followers. When Paul approaches James with his account of conversion while on the road to Damascus, James is furious. How can Paul claim to know what Jesus wants when Paul never knew Jesus, never walked with him, and certainly was not there when he died!
As a devout Jewish Christian, James insists on the keeping of Torah and the circumcision of Gentile converts. He and the Nazarenes await the return of Jesus and the kingdom of God on earth. Paul, on the other hand, ministers to the Gentiles and travels spreading the good news to all who will listen. He preaches that all Jews and Gentiles are welcome apart from Torah. He comes to believe that the kingdom of God is spiritual not physical. These are two very different interpretations and neither is willing to yield.
The author notes are very helpful for those unfamiliar with early Christian history as are the maps of the Holy Land. A well-written historical fiction novel. Recommended. — Debra Spidal