By Peter Longley, iUniverse Publishing, 683 pages

Joshua is dead, crucified by the Romans and condemned by the Jewish elders who feared that his teachings challenged their spiritual superiority within the hierarchy of Jewish Law. After his tomb is discovered empty, his body removed, Joshua’s followers fall into disarray. Yet even though he is gone, Maria of Magdala refuses to be subdued. Within her womb, she carries Joshua’s son and everywhere she sees the light of his divine presence. Linus Flavius carries with him the guilt of Joshua’s crucifixion – he oversaw Joshua’s final moments. But the teachings of Joshua’s followers touch him, and he finds himself becoming a part of their growing community. Soon, Joshua’s followers are found in all corners of the empire and beyond. But will the prejudice of their own people be their final downfall?

In The Mist of God—the final book in the Magdala trilogy—Longley concludes his epic retelling of the life of Joshua and the spread of Christianity. In the final piece of the story, we’re introduced to new characters, such as Paulus (known as Saul of Tarsus,) the Nazarene’s greatest enemy-turned-advocate, Marcus, a merchant prince and half-brother to Ben Joshua, the controversial son of Maria and the messiah.

Spanning the far-flung trade routes of the Roman Empire and beyond, Longley weaves a plausible tale of the rise and spread of Christianity, as well as the deviations of belief that inevitably rose among its followers. Longley’s style has matured yet again, and his prose flows evenly along one twisty riverbed of a tale. My only complaint: the multiplicity of names that some characters were saddled with. But that’s more a by-product of the effort made to show how Joshua’s message was spread. Overall, an intriguing read and a great alternate telling of a very old story.

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