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Acclaimed for his religiously themed novels Judas the Gentileand The Silence of John, Lliteras again delivers an imaginatively gripping story of faith, doubt and ultimate redemption. In the frenetic opening chapters, the young boy Addan is sent stumbling into the chaos of postcrucifixion Golgatha to find his father, a disciple of the recently slain Rabbi Jesus. Wending his way through a maze of danger and deceit, he finds comfort, shelter and some very good wine in the company of the wily Jeshua. A showman not unlike the Wizard of Oz's Professor Marvel, Jeshua has an almost endearing moral paucity, and using his considerable wit and charm, he alternately spars with, encourages, corrupts and protects his young companion. Addan's character shows an admirable balance of naïveté with bravado, blind faith with common sense and even a bit of unexpected wisdom. Together the two wreak, flee and try to survive a particular kind of havoc before coming face to face with their own mortality and issues of faith. Lliteras's brand of biblical fiction is heart-racing; it's messy, bloody and honest. Deftly crafted, the rich layers of darkness —emotional, physical and political—give this tale an unusual depth. (Mar.)Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.