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Known for his previous fictionalizations of biblical women ("The Canaan Trilogy": Sarah, Zipporah, and Lilah), Halter here crafts the story of Miriam (Mary), who is in league with Barabbas and the Essene Joseph of Arimathea against the Roman occupiers and their puppet client-kings, the house of Herod. She is brash and passionate, given to fits of righteous indignation and fierce loyalties. An ancient Near Eastern feminist, Mary spouts abundant highly charged speech and eschews marriage because "I have other things to do in this world than be a man's wife." Her work is bearing the Messiah, a thing she asks of the Lord rather than a thing thrust upon her. Halter's Mary exists on the border between visionary and madness, and she blames herself for Jesus's eventual arrest for forcing his hand at the wedding in Cana. Some historical elements give pause (for instance, the Essenes were a separatist movement unlikely to join in political intrigue), and, as with Halter's previous works, he runs out of creative energy before getting to the conclusion. But the modern twist is intriguing. Recommended where interest in biblical fiction warrants.