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4.2 12
by Tucker Malarkey

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Set in Cairo during the tumultuous aftermath of World War II, Tucker Malarkey's Resurrection draws on the actual events surrounding the findings of the lost gospels at Nag Hammadi, Egypt. Suppressed by the Church Fathers, who elected to include only four gospels in the New Testament canon, these sacred texts were destroyed in ancient times by Church mandate,


Set in Cairo during the tumultuous aftermath of World War II, Tucker Malarkey's Resurrection draws on the actual events surrounding the findings of the lost gospels at Nag Hammadi, Egypt. Suppressed by the Church Fathers, who elected to include only four gospels in the New Testament canon, these sacred texts were destroyed in ancient times by Church mandate, and their subsequent accidental rediscovery in the 1940s was fraught with danger. Around these remarkable events, Malarkey has crafted a suspenseful and eye-opening tale of love, war, and murder.

When Gemma Bastian's father, a renowned British archeologist, suddenly passes away in Egypt, she journeys from postwar London to Cairo to bury his ashes. Yet her investigation into his last project-an attempt to recover and make public the lost Gnostic Gospels-raises troubling questions about his death. What unfolds is a tantalizing but little-known story about one of the most important and controversial finds of the past century, involving, at its center, the relationship between Jesus and Mary Magdalene.

Drawing on the material that Elaine Pagels presented in her bestseller The Gnostic Gospels, Resurrection grapples with the mysterious circumstances surrounding the discovery of those ancient texts, which call into question the founding of Christianity and the role of women in Church history. Here is a story of resurrection in its many forms: of a dead father, of a love between a man and a woman, of a world ravaged by war, of a faith that might have been.

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Listen up, Da Vinci Code fans: Tin House founding editor Malarkey (An Obvious Enchantment) has dreamed up a story featuring Mary Magdalene as the first apostle. At least, that's the idea Gemma Bastian starts chasing after traveling to post-World War II Cairo to follow up on her late archaeologist father's final project: uncovering the Gnostic Gospels. With a national tour. Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
USA Today
Resurrection is a story of renewed faith inspired by gospels said to have been squelched by early Christian leaders. But Resurrection also is the story of the brave Gemma who, because she's a woman, and a stubborn one at that, must fight social, cultural and religious restrictions to pursue the events surrounding her father's death....Malarkey, whose first novel, An Obvious Enchantment , dealt with African Islam, writes deftly about spiritual discovery, and the religious history she weaves into her story gives the novel some heft.
The author of An Obvious Enchantment weaves the discovery of the Gnostic gospels into an elegantly written thriller.
Although some readers may enjoy Malarkey's novel simply as a literary thriller, many will find themselves wrestling with theological conundrums. In fact, controversy will surely surround this novel, as readers who hail it as a daring exposé clash with those who see it as a slander against their faith.
Drawn from actual events, Resurrection is a fascinating and engaging new novel.
Publishers Weekly
A temperate entry in the rapidly overheating Da Vinci Code sweepstakes, Malarkey's second novel (following An Obvious Enchantment) illuminates the spiritual yearnings underlying and bolstering that boffo megaseller's more sensationalistic elements. Set in Egypt just after WWII, the novel fictionalizes the discovery of the Gnostic gospels, early Christian writings whose explosive intimations-that a growing nonauthoritarian sect was suppressed as Christianity was incorporated into the Roman empire-have been expertly explored by the great scholar Elaine Pagels. Malarkey, a founding editor of Tin House, is clearly enamored of these writings, but she makes a hash of the intrigue around their discovery. A faulty sense of period (a character at one point anachronistically calls for "security") and characters and situations straight from romance fiction ("This is the most beautiful part of the horse, and, I think, some women") mix uneasily with fairly sophisticated Bible readings, as young Brit Gemma Bastian follows her archeologist father to Cairo and gets mixed up with the household of his friend David Lazar-and David's sons. Such criticisms would be quibbles if Resurrection possessed the pulpy energy of Da Vinci, but it doesn't. Budding Gnostics and Essenes would be better off going straight to Pagels. (Aug.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Investigating her father's mysterious death in post-WW2 Cairo, a young woman finds herself on the trail of the Lost (Gnostic) Gospels; there is also a flickering love interest in this second novel from Malarkey (An Obvious Enchantment, 2000). Gemma Bastian is a nurse in London. She lost her mother in the Blitz; then her father, an archaeologist, left for Egypt. Now it's 1947, and Gemma is off to Cairo herself; her father has died of a heart attack, and she will stay with his friends. David Lazar is an Englishman; his second wife is Egyptian; his children are half-brothers. There's Michael (a morphine addict, drowning in self-pity because of his injuries as a fighter pilot) and Anthony (another archaeologist, calm, aloof); Gemma will spar and flirt with the still-sexy Michael while she pushes Anthony for information on her father's research. He had achieved a breakthrough and was expecting money before being found dead in his office after his client, a British Museum official, was killed by a rock slide. It smells bad. Who is the ginger-haired guy she surprises in her father's office? Why is he following her? And why is Anthony stonewalling? Gemma is her father's daughter, a smart, fearless loner, and realizes her father had unearthed one of the Lost Gospels (as a young man, he had left the seminary after a similar discovery). Sinister machinations by the Catholic church; the elevation of Mary Magdalene-yes, there are some similarities to The Da Vinci Code here. But Malarkey assures us that her many gospel quotations are authentic (and credits The Gnostic Gospels, by Elaine Pagels). Her mix of shattering scriptural revelations and skullduggery should be combustible, but the fire nevercatches. The murders (four, at least) generate little excitement (this is Egypt; stuff happens) and the sheer number of different gospels in circulation becomes confusing. All this, and the bombing of Cairo by the Israelis? It's way too much. Passable entertainment; could have been much better.

Product Details

Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
Edition description:
Product dimensions:
5.53(w) x 8.20(h) x 0.92(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

What People are Saying About This

Peg Patton
Peg Patton, Front Street Book Shop, Scituate Harbor, MA
Fans of Maisie Dobbs will love Gemma Bastian and this richly detailed, well-paced novel.
Angela Crist
Angela Crist, The Book Vault, Oskaloosa, IA
This is a suspenseful love story peopled with a mix of fictional and historical characters. Tucker Malarkey has created a wonderful fiction based on the sketchy history of the Gnostic Gospels.

Meet the Author

Tucker Malarkey was a founding editor of Tin House, a literary journal based in Portland, Oregon, and New York. A graduate of the Iowa Writers' Workshop, she is a former researcher/writer for The Washington Post. Resurrection, her second novel, follows her critically acclaimed An Obvious Enchantment.

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Resurrection 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 12 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
So, one wonders if Tucker Malarkey (is this REALLY her name?) is full of "malarkey"? A very interesting topic...was Mary Magdalene a companion to Jesus? There have been several books that address this and it does seem very plausible. I always like when historical facts or observations are put inside a fictional story. One can learn things while being entertained. The plot is interesting, although some what predictable. The subject matter is fascinating. I did not give this 5 stars, because I felt it a bit contrived and predictable. However, Ms. Malarkey has really done a good job of research and story telling. A Fun Read, especially for those looking for a unique female hero and are in love with the romantic setting of Egypt and archeological digs of the 1940's.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I was completely satisfied with the amazing story-telling in Resurrection. I love that (unlike the Da Vinci Code knockoffs) this book is not attempting to claim any unreasonable evidence. The author presents early Christianity through fact and not false testimonies! This book has vivid characters. I strongly recommend this mystery, romance and thriller to anyone who wants not only a great read but a refreshing and inoffensive perspective on the roots of Christianity.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Escape_Artist More than 1 year ago
Starts out with a great premise, could be promising, but it's not. The story really never goes anywhere. The main female char is a bit of a moron. The reader is teased with a sense of "the big discovery is coming!", but it goes nowhere. Falls flat imo.
LotusNM More than 1 year ago
Tucker Malarkey must have done some extensive research for this book, and it paid off. I had heard nothing of the Nag Hammadi nor the lost gospels before reading this, so the whole topic was stimulating! At the same time, the story kept the pages turning. For those of you who are looking for an intellectual piece of literature beyond a theology textbook and would also like a bit of a love story that's not reeking with impractical sappy-ness, this is for you! Definitely a good book for those who question certain aspects of Christianity as well as for feminists.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is great for people who believe faith is personal. Malarkey gives actual facts in his book and presents them in a story that is interesting. Gemma is an easy character to relate to. She puts her emotions aside for everyone else. Nobody ever sees her crying, yet she is always crying on the inside. Finally, she finds solace in two people, coincedentally brothers. Also, she was struggling with faith and found the answers she was looking for in her late father's journals. The ending leaves room for a sequel but is also a suitable closer.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I loved this book and was so disappointed when I finished reading it. I didn't want it to be over. Not fast moving like Map of Bones, Angels and Demons or the DaVinci Code, but still very fascinating. I wish there was a sequel.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Malarkey provides the reader with a unique way of grasping the wonder and wisdom of the Lost Gospels of Nag Hamadi, and the unfortunate impact of politics/power on personal faith. I found myself transported to faraway post-war Cairo and relished the characters' discovery of these profound and still mysterious texts. (That the author didn't base the story on an imagined marriage between Jesus and Mary was a welcome relief) I will recommend the book to anyone whose interest in early Christianity, or alternative forms of christian faith may have been sparked by the Da Vinci Code or recent release of the Gospel of Judas.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The author draws you into a compelling love story that reveals itself on many levels. Her intermix of parts of the Nag Hammadi library is skillful. It took me back to the referenced passages in Robinson's compilation. Most of all it reiterated a love for the landscape of Egypt and the desert. Great story.
Guest More than 1 year ago
In 1947 London, Bernard Westerly visits nurse Gemma Bastian asking her if her internationally famous archeologist father Charles sent her any packages for ¿safekeeping¿. She says no. Two mornings later the telex arrives from Cairo informing her that her dad died and that money has been sent for her to come to Cairo to bury his ashes. --- In Cairo, she heads to the house of Professor David Lezar, a colleague of her father. However, though he and others try to divert her from her father¿s last work, Gemma needs to see what he was dong. Soon she begins to suspect he was murdered perhaps by his friends. Finally trusting no one even the sons of David whom she is attracted to, Gemma learns that Charles¿ last project was finding the lost Gnostic Gospel written by Mary Magdalene with an emphasis on her relationship with Jesus something the Church wants interred at any cost. --- Giving credit to Elaine Pagels (see THE GNOSTIC GOSPELS) and embellishing on a real discovery just after WWII, Tucker Malarkey writes a terrific Christian thriller that will hook the Brownian crowd and others from start to finish. The action-packed story line focuses on the discovery of ancient texts that could shake the foundation of organized western religions especially Christianity as Gemma begins to believe that Mary Magdalene was the first gospel. Her need to know what happened to her father and what he found on his final project make for a thrilling read as fans will consider what if in the first century AD. --- Harriet Klausner