More About A Wretched Man by R.W. Holmen

Jesus authored no writings.  Nor did any of those who followed him in the Galilee or during his fateful pilgrimage to Jerusalem.  It fell to an outsider, who never met the anointed one from Nazareth and who first opposed the movement, to become its reporter, memorialist, essayist, interpreter, and promoter. 

Paul the apostle.  Paul the one untimely born.  This is the story of Paul, a wretched man.

Most fiction authors must create colorful characters.  This novel's protagonist comes ready-made with knotty complications and buffeted by conflict from all sides.  It has been the author's task to allow the complex, critical, controversial man from Tarsus to bloom before the reader's eyes.

So too, the setting.  To the Jews of Palestine, the Pax Romana was a brutalizing experience of occupying tyrants.  Their very culture was at stake as the alluring attraction of Hellenism threatened traditional Hebrew ways.  Cross currents of factionalism wafted through the stalls of market vendors in the outer courts of God's holy house, the Temple of Jerusalem.  The priests and the aristocrats, mere puppets of their Roman masters, feared the daggermen of the shadows.  The stench of colonialist oppression fouled the air, stirred by the fresh breeze of revolution.  Caught between two cultures, Hebrew and Hellenist, Paul dared promote a Jewish Messiah to a Gentile world.

So too, the plot.  Following their leader's death, the mantle of leadership of the Jesus movement weighed heavily upon the shoulders of Jesus' own brother, James.  For a full generation, he struggled to keep the movement alive amongst the Jews of Jerusalem with the bloody Romans all around.  His burden was all the weightier because an upstart foreigner, a Jew who acted like a Gentile, who never met his brother but claimed a vision on the road to Damascus, would have the Jews turn their back on the traditions of the elders, would bring the pollution of Hellenism to the Jesus movement, and would turn his brother's legacy into a Gentile religion.  For nearly three decades, Paul and James contended for the heart and soul of the Jesus movement.  Christianity was forged in the crucible of their conflict.

It's all there, it's all part of our history.  It has been the author's happy task to peel back the layers of two millennia of historical debris and allow these colorful characters and their complicated, conflicted story to come alive again.  Characters, conflict, setting, and plot.  The story is there; the author merely had to tell 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"