Like all good books, it entertained. Like all really good books, it taught and expanded viewpoints. Like the few downright excellent books I have read in the past several years, it challenges me to think and motivates further study. As you can imagine and have probably heard from others, your thoughts have created some discomfort that I now feel compelled to address. This, to me, is the mark of a truly significant work. This splash will produce ripples to keep me busy for a while and I thank you for what you put into it.
My husband read your book in three days–he just couldn’t put it down–and enjoyed every minute of it … [a few weeks later she added] At this rate, I don’t know if I am ever going to get to finish reading your book. My husband was talking to his brother last week about the book and his brother said he would like to read it. So this past weekend he gave it to him to read… so now I am either going to have to buy my own copy or wait until my husband gets it back from his brother.
I have just finished the book and found it fascinating. Like many of your other readers, I have decided I need to get back to Paul’s writings in the New Testament. Your book has given me a deeper understanding of how the early Christian church grew – Paul’s role in it and the fierce conflict between Jew and Gentile during this time. I will recommend this to friends. Thank you, I love historical novels and this was one worth reading.
I can only imagine the amount of time you had to have spent to gather the data not only on the historical, anthropological and archeological levels but on the climate and seasons and the types of farming, food, plants, insects, butterflies and birds at the various locations. Maybe being a farm boy, and more attuned to the weather, drew me into the realness of the story line and paralleling Acts which I have always felt is one of the more compelling books of the new testament made the story of Paul more honest at least to me. I had always thought of Paul as different from the norms of society and if Paul was gay or not doesn’t really change the bible and the good news from my point of view anyway. I found a great peace settle on me as I read and concluded the reading of this novel.
I am truly enjoying the novel! I think you did an outstanding job telling an interesting story. I am not done, but will keep you posted.
If this story is close to true, Paul surely was a crazy man! You did an excellent job of introducing the characters slowly, and repeated their relationships. I am a history/geography minor so appreciate the references to place names and historical characters. The maps are OK but a scale would have been helpful, especially to novice types. I am enjoying the plot development very much. Thank you for using Aramaic and Greek names interchangeably. It is helpful to me to solidify them in my wee brain.
I’ve finished reading your book and really enjoyed it! I’m going to suggest our weekly Pauline Epistles Bible study read this during the rest of the summer. It provides an interesting “review” of events, particularly the founding of the early churches, plus fills in the blanks with interesting possibilities! I really got a much deeper and clearer sense of the actual tensions within the early Church between Jewish Christians and Gentile Christians.
I started reading the novel and love the short chapters. It reads so well. I put this book on our church book club for next year.
The premise that Paul was gay was extremely interesting, especially with what the church has been dealing in recent time. The story was extraordinarily well written and entertaining. Your development of the characters was remarkable. I loved your book. Thanks for writing it. I’m anxious to pass your book on to friends and get their opinions.
Your novel was difficult to put down, and gave me evenings in which to be absorbed by the places and times of Paul. Your writing brought to life a distant time and place with such humanity and liveliness that I felt it opened up Scripture to me in a new way (and I have read and studied Scripture a LOT). Your premise of Paul's "thorn" being that he was gay makes sense to me. It could be.
I found that it really challenged me to put on the shoes (sandals) of the early Christians and to wonder what “it” was like . . . Jesus is coming again . . . but when? I felt like the book was an intensive mirror, by making me look back, I looked through myself to do so.
Thank you for this book.
Though I didn't always agree with the theory behind your tale, I have to admit your arguments are well thought out and do fit with the thoughts I have had about Paul. I have already suggested that several folks read the book so that we might have a discussion on it. You are a tremendous writer and kept me interested for the whole two days it took for me to read it.
Readers are gushing!
"A stupendous novel"
"Regardless of your personal religious background, this book is absolutely breathtaking"
"Your novel was difficult to put down and brought to life a distant time and place with such humanity and liveliness"
"A truly significant work"