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The author of the fictionalized biographies of St. Augustine, Ignatius of Loyola, and Francis Xavier presents here ""a novel whose central figure is St. Paul"". The scope of the story extends from the reign of Tiberius to the time of Nero and recounts, incidentally, the appointments and replacements of a multitude of Roman and local officials in the Eastern Empire. A characterization of one of these officials in drawn in Casius Longinus, who appeared in The Spear as the soldier who thrust that weapon into Christ's side on Calvary and whose life, like that of the soldier in The Robe was changed from the time of the Crucifixion. Casius' life is picked up here after he has left the army, prospered as a merchant in the East and has married Noami, a Jewess, whose life too has been changed by her meeting with Christ. Casius and Noami are now Christians and are on the Jerusalem scene when Paul, as Saul of Tarsus, orthodox Jew, persecutes the Christians as being deviants from the Law. The paths of Casius and Paul, before and after the conversion on the road to Damascus, cross and interweave, while Casius is growing ever more successful, finally becoming Governor of Syria. Eventually, Casius and Noami give up all pretence to temporal glory in the decadent Empire to work for the Christian mission. In Rome, Casius and Noami's daughter, Acte, who has fallen in love with Nero, turns to St. Paul, as did her parents, for consolation and forgiveness before the Apostle of the Gentiles is beheaded outside the city. If St. Paul's own story is stilted, for a novel, in this telling, the fault is that his dialogue consists mainly of his words in the Epistles. But the story of Casius and the Roman scenes in general are well told.

Pub Date: Oct. 16th, 1957
Publisher: Lippincott