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Publishers WeeklyIn this lugubrious novel, painter and novelist O'Brien (Father Elijah) turns the addressee of Luke's Gospels, Theophilos, into a weary protagonist seeking to reclaim his adoptive son. Relating his affection for and concern over his adopted son Luke, who has recently become enamored of the teachings of Jesus, Theophilos travels to see his physician son after a 10-year absence and tries persuading him to return home. Luke, however, wants Theophilos to understand his growing attachment to the young community of Christians, and directs Theophilos to visit a number of people who were personally involved with Jesus; the quest also exposes Theophilos to illness, symbolic dreams and numbing internal discourses before his ultimate conversion. O'Brien displays a firm grasp of Greek, Roman, Jewish and Christian cultures of the first century, creating a strong sense of place and time, but the plot makes a ponderous vehicle for O'Brien's conservative views and doomsday visions, with a leisurely pace that will deter all but the most dedicated.
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