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Pilate's Wife


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The only surviving historical record of the wife of Pontius Pilate is a very brief reference in the Gospel of Matthew, which states that she sent word to Pilate during Jesus's trial imploring him to have nothing to do with the Galilean, as she had been troubled by dreams of him. From this meager bit of information, May (coauthor, Adventures of a Psychic) has written the story of Claudia, born to one of Rome's first families, follower of the goddess Isis, young wife of Pilate, and seer and visionary in her own right. From an early age, Claudia is blessed or cursed with the ability to see the future. Sadly, like Cassandra of Troy, this capacity does not come with the power to change the tragic events she sees unfolding for herself, her family, and her world. Depicting an extraordinary woman living in a turbulent and pivotal moment in time, May's fiction debut is a fresh and vivid retelling of a well-known story comparable in scope to Anita Diamant's The Red Tent and Elizabeth Cunningham's The Passion of Mary Magdalene. One hopes this is the first of many novels by this excellent author. Recommended for public libraries, particularly where there is an interest in historical fiction, Christian fiction, or early church history. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 7/06.] Jane Henriksen Baird, Anchorage Municipal Libs., AK Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

Biographer and journalist May (Adventures of a Psychic) turns to fiction to offer a privileged woman's view of religion, spirituality, sex and marriage in the time of Christ. May imagines 14-year-old Claudia Procula living with loving parents and holding a secret devotion to the goddess Isis and a gift for seeing the future. Six years later, Claudia marries the handsome and ambitious Pontius Pilate just before her family falls from imperial favor. While Pilate busies himself with affairs of state (and those of the extramarital variety), Claudia chats with her Jewish slave Rachel, visits her gladiator lover Holtan, tangles with the conniving Empress Livia, dines at Herod's palace and attends Jesus' wedding. Though blessed with the ability to see the future, Claudia never manages to prevent the tragedies she foresees. May is at her best when unencumbered by literary or historical precedent; Claudia's sister, the unwilling Vestal Virgin Marcella, for example, is better realized than the shallowly rendered Caligula, and descriptions of Antioch and Caesarea are more compelling than those of well-known locations like Pompeii. (Nov.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

One hopes this is the first of many novels by this excellent author.--School Library Journal (starred review)

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