A lively, rather simplistic account of the growth of Christianity from Pentecost to the deaths of Paul and Peter, First Christians follows the format of Maier's well-received First Christmas and First Easter and completes his trilogy on the major church festivals in their original setting. Taking the Acts of the Apostles as its framework and principal source, it uses historical fact and speculation (words like ""probably,"" ""might well have,"" and ""possibly"" abound) to flesh out and authenticate a literal rendering of the Biblical narrative. Forty illustrations of relevant sites and remains reinforce the documentary approach. Maier treats the supernatural events (miracles, angels, voices from heaven) and the speeches in the text as strictly factual, all but ignores the tangled issues of the process of composition and theological interpretation, and incorporates Biblical scholarship only when it abets his reading. His book will appeal to those seeking a vivid, compact recounting of the birth of the Christian church, innocent of the complexities of modern Biblical criticism.