What I’m Reading: From Afar by Roger Thomas

Hey, it’s Mischa. I have another Christmas book. And, no Aadi, it’s not a romance novel. The book is From Afar by Roger Thomas. It’s historical fiction that gives a new look at the journey of the Magi in the real setting of the Hellenistic period. It was way more dangerous than what we hear in the Christmas story. Which is so cool.

From Afar by Roger Thomas
Publisher: Tumblar House
Genre: Scriptural Fiction / Adventure
Age category: Young Adult

The Magi, or Three Kings, of the Nativity story are among the best loved yet most mysterious figures in all history. The fleeting and sparse account in St. Matthew’s Gospel raises as many questions as it answers. It has been so embroidered over the centuries that the original historical context has been almost completely buried. Yet the world of the early first century was as dynamic and intriguing as any legend – and much more perilous.

In his compelling novelization of the journey of the Magi, Roger Thomas draws on Scripture, history, and modern research. This swift-moving tale brings these shadowed figures to vivid life. You meet them as men of their time and culture: learned and noble, yet experienced with a brutal world and even violent when necessary. Come with them as they search for a King they do not understand, and seek for answers to questions lying in the deepest parts of their souls – providing they survive the dangers of the journey.

Excerpt:

“You did what?” Captain Tigranes nearly shouted, grabbing Baba by the shoulders and shaking him. “Baba, do you realize – had you been caught, you would have been killed! Immediately, without mercy, and with no consideration of your youth! None of us could have done a thing to help you!”

Baba could tell the captain was more than just angry. He was pale in a way that Baba had never seen, and his hands were trembling. Baba realized that the captain was frightened – badly frightened. Well, so was Baba, but he needed to tell the captain what he knew.

“I know, sir, but after the lords left, I heard the king talking to a man – a dark man.”

“A dark man?” the captain asked sharply. “Did you hear his name?”

“No, sir, he didn’t mention it. He and the king seemed to know each other. He was thin.”

“I think I know who you’re talking about,” the captain said, starting to pace the floor. “What did they say to one another?”

Baba told him, shaking with fright at the retelling. The captain was focusing on him, though his hands were still trembling, and he asked Baba many questions.

“This is bad, isn’t it, sir?” Baba asked when he’d finished.

“It’s very bad, Baba,” the captain replied. “And though what you did was very dangerous, I’m glad you came and told me what you’d heard.”

“Would you like me to fetch Lord Gaspar, sir?”

The captain was silent for a minute, as if making up his mind. “No,” he said at last. “Let’s leave Gaspar out of this. Here’s what you can do: you know Lord Gaspar’s guards, Gordias and Tetius? Can you find them and ask them to come see me? Very quietly?”

“Yes, sir.”

“And Baba – don’t tell anyone what you’ve told me. Not Gordias and Tetius, not the lords, not the cook, not anyone, do you understand?”

“Yes, sir.”

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