A palpable and labored imitation of The Robe, in a story of Marcus Adonias, bastard son of a Roman vice-governor of Jerusalem and of Micol, a member of the Sanhedrin. Taken from his mother by his father, orphaned later and the heir to a great fortune, Marcus is sent to Rome to be the ward of a sadistic old patrician, Valerius Messala. Here the author gives in meticulous detail a vivid picture of degenerate Rome- ridden by cupidity, lust, superstition, fear and power politics. Marcus falls in love with Varilia, who instructs him in the preliminaries of the sacred passion and eventually- in a pagan initiation ceremony to culminate in the fulfillment of their love, they are separated and a decrees of exile imposed upon them, Varilla to Egypt, Marcus to the garrison in Jerusalem. Up to this point, the story in its lurid details, has a certain contribution to make. But from here out, the effort to inject Marcus' story into the gospel pattern fails utterly to capture either the hereto or the spiritual values. The rephrasing of such passages as are recognizably from the biblical text has little warmth or inspiration. Marcus as the youth who gave up his wealth to follow Jesus, as the owner of the house in whose upper chamber the ""last supper"" was held, is never a convincing nor an appealing figure. His death ends the story- following the rumored resurrection. The scholarship here is its outstanding recommendation.