SON OF MARY: an utterly memorable masterpiece of Biblical fiction

Posted: April 29, 2020 in Uncategorized

The thing I love most about the story of Jesus, as stated with other occasions, is its  innate ability to stay fresh. It is literally the most well-known story of our civilization, and regardless of what our options regarding faith might be, we know it to at least some degree or another.

Masterpieces such as QUO VADIS, BEN-HUR, THE ROBE, THE BIG FISHERMAN, THE LAST TEMPTATION OF CHRIST, have attempted, to some extent, to explore the meaning of Jesus within the context of the world which He inhabited.

2020, a challenging year for the world, brings forth  the latest novel which is worthy of sharing your shelf-space with the aforementioned classics.  The novel is called SON OF MARY, and written by Mr. Randy Ingermanson, Christian author, physicist and archaeologist extraordinnaire.  And let me tell you. It is like NOTHING you have ever read before. Actually, it is something like what would happen if Tolkien, Lew Wallace and Kazantzakis decided to go out for a cup of coffee and swap ideas on what Jesus meant and did for the world.

Now, the main idea that the novel is grounded on might raise a few eyebrows, ruffle a few feathers and even scare some people, but after having read it through and through, I can wholeheartedly attest that it is an idea that is meant to be an encouragement. Every novel has its „what if?” And in this case, the „what if” is „What if Jesus had DISCOVERED He is the Messiah, the Son of God?”

This comes, of course, with questions. With hesitations. With fear.  With expectations that can turn burdensome. And this book is about all that. But it is so much more.

Typically, a Biblical novel is about a certain character, whether Biblical or fictional, and their walk with Jesus. This is a novel about Jesus and His walk with God. And the genius of it lies both in the story itself and the way it is told.

From the get-go, the reader is told to expect to be thrust in a different world ,with different customs and different people. With different thoughts and different manners of speech. The names of the characters are in the Aramaic of the time, so you will discover Yeshua, Miryam and Yoseph, Shimon the Rock,  Yaakov, Yoni(the Apostle John, here, the Genius of Capernaum, a Torah-savvy teen), and the language has a slightly stilted, but highly appealing structure, peppered with Aramaic words. The name of God is referenced here as HaShem, the Holy Spirit is Shekinah. There is tougher stuff too, like haryo(dung) and zonah(prostitute), for this is also a novel with a great deal of grit. We are used to the Sunday-school imagery of Jesus and the saints with halos, walking on clouds. This is the story of a Jesus who laughs, cries, feels pain, confusion, fear, anger. A Jesus who does not know „how to make a justice on his mother”, as He puts it in the novel. Oh, and Mary. Wonderful, wonderful Miryam of Nazareth. As a Catholic by baptism, in theory, I should be very wary of fiction that portrays her in another light but that of holiness. But I was never that good at putting theory into practice. And plus, this Mary is so, so, so compellingly portrayed. Whoever does not empathize with her should seriously question their humanity. She is humiliated beyond belief, but loves her Son with all her heart.  Shimon the Rock also won me over with his proverbial stubbornness, but also with the realization that the justice of HaShem is restorative justice, upon witnessing the crucifixion of the perpetrator of an act that left him with a deep trauma.

Where the novel shines most, in my view, is in revealing Jesus’ walk with God. It is in our nature, as believers, to sometimes think that all Jesus did in His life was walk around and speak to people about love while doing miracles. And because of this irksome habit of having fiction reflecting the often politically correct mores of our society, fiction has taken on the unhealthy habit of portraying women as more emancipated than they could have been in that day and age.  The novel avoids this by pulling no punches in regard to their plight. Women have it really tough here. They are voiceless, humiliated, yearning to matter.  And in this story of Jesus, we see Him interacting with them warmly, gently, naturally. Treating them like human beings. We see a Jesus who takes a hundred small steps before taking a big one and making a miracle happen. We see a Jesus weeping for disabled children suffering cruel fates because of the wickedness of some people, and as a disabled Christian, THIS IS the Jesus I was looking for. Not one who shouts for my rights with His fists in the air, but one who quietly, discreetly,  and emotionally proclaims me and those like me children of HaShem.  It is a thrill to follow Jesus on His quest to destroy the First Power(what it is and how it works, I will leave you with the pleasure of discovering for yourselves).  The ending, the precipice scene in the Gospels, has all the nail-biting suspense and heartrending drama of a film or TV series. Hello, Netflix? Maybe you would like to pick up something that is different WITHOUT being blasphemous? Just saying!

This novel is the first in the projected four-volume series called THE CROWN OF THORNS. And though I know the overall „big picture”, Mr. Ingermanson has definitely managed to keep me on edge with his painstaking attention to the little things. Although he was kind enough to provide me with a Kindle review copy, I would not be making a justice on this book if my thoughts were not my own. All the stars upon a midnight sky could not make a justice, so instead, I will give SON OF MARY a kiss and a kiss and a kiss.

Blessings, Mr. Ingermanson!

Eagerly awaiting the next book!

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