The Peregrine's Odyssey: Burnt Offerings - A Novel of Early Christianity

The Peregrine's Odyssey: Burnt Offerings - A Novel of Early Christianity

by Michael Kleinfall

Hardcover(Book 1 of the Burnt Offerings Series ed.)

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Overview

Christiani esse non licit: "It is not lawful to be a Christian."

From the time of Nero in the mid-first century, four words hung over the heads of every Christian for the first three centuries of the nascent Church of the Christos, the God-man.

In 116 AD during the reign of the Emperor Trajan, Ignatius, bishop of Antioch in Syria, heard those four words that sentenced him to death in the Roman Colosseum. His condemnation and martyrdom were witnessed by his closest friend, Gaius Segusiavus, the "Peregrine."

Through the eyes of Gaius, we travel back in time to October of 96 AD, to Antioch in the Roman province of Syria. On a stormy night in Antioch, Ignatius reveals the story of his mid-life conversion, prompted by a singular event witnessed by his father outside Jerusalem in 30 AD. Gaius, a prosperous merchant from Roman Gaul, a typical believer in the gods, is incredulous at Ignatius' strange tale and the peculiar history of the followers of Christos. Ignatius, novice Christian, asks a favor of Gaius, a request rooted in his new religion.

Granting Ignatius' request leads the two friends to the island of Patmos, a Roman penal colony, and a meeting with the last of the twelve apostles, the "Ancient One", John, the beloved of Christ. Against the backdrop of Trajan's Roman Empire, Gaius is inexorably drawn into the Christian world as "The Way" spreads throughout the Empire and into Gaius' own family. We encounter the Christians of Rome, those in Asia and Bithynia; the emperor Trajan, successful in war, reshaping the face of Rome with his monumental building projects; the decorated centurion Maximus who befriends Gaius; the eloquent Roman senator, Pliny the Younger, through whose letters we live the lives of noble Romans; and a vengeful, banished son who will haunt the last days of the "Peregrine."

Throughout the course of twenty years, from that night in Antioch to a death under the noonday sun in the Colosseum, the lives of Gaius and Ignatius are increasingly intertwined: Ignatius the martyr who becomes one of the most famous and iconic of the early Church Fathers; Gaius who seeks understanding of his closest friend's faith, while fearing the possibility of hearing those mortal four words.
History and fiction meet in this story of the love of two "brothers" and the story of the Love that conquers both.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781987065916
Publisher: Barnes & Noble Press
Publication date: 04/28/2019
Series: Burnt Offerings - Novels of Early Christianity , #5
Edition description: Book 1 of the Burnt Offerings Series ed.
Pages: 424
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.06(d)

About the Author

Throughout my high school and college years I was fortunate to have a number of literature professors who planted the seeds that someday might sprout a novel or two.

After graduating from the University of California-Davis in 1970 I began a 30-year career in business insurance and risk management.

Now "retired," I have the luxury to pursue that life-long dream of being a published author. Over the years, I've dabbled in a number of genres and finally found the “it” that I enjoy and that employs my interests and experience.

For the past fifteen years I have been active in Church ministry. One ministry in particular married an interest in history (Roman imperial period) with the history of early Christianity. The overarching questions I often asked were: What was it like to be one of the first Christians? And, why would a "pagan" get involved with or practice this radically strange religion? How can we, twenty centuries later, relate?

Four years ago, I began this project—a series of historical-fiction novels I call Burnt Offerings—delving into this period of Roman and Christian history, entering the world, the culture, the lives of the first Christians and their Roman neighbors. A secondary purpose was to (re)introduce some of the important Christian figures who were so instrumental in promoting (evangelizing) and defining what Christianity was and would become.

This first book, The Peregrine's Odyssey, begins our journey into this early period of our shared history of western civilization.

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