Beyond the Olive Grove: Volume Two of the Magdala Trilogy

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Joshua of Nazareth has been many things: stone mason, carpenter, vinekeeper. But now it’s time for him to accept the greatest title of his life — that of Messiah. From the tiny village of Bethany, to the fishing community of Galilee, to the holy city of Jerusalem, Joshua spreads his message of peace and salvation to rich and poor alike. Along with his twelve chosen disciples, Joshua gathers a circle of close friends, including Maria of Magdala. Known as a whore and an adulteress, Maria’s very presence and the obvious love between her and Joshua slowly begins dividing Joshua’s followers, threatening the very heart of his ministry.

In Beyond the Olive Grove —the second book in the Magdala Trilogy—Longley continues the stories of Joshua, Maria, and Linus Flavius as they travel along the paths that destiny has laid out for them. I struggled a bit with the fact that this is supposedly a story about Maria (also known as Mary Magdalene), yet almost the entire book centers around Joshua’s life and the path he travels to become the “Messiah.” Toward the end of the book, Maria’s role becomes much more integral to the story, but there is simply no way that she is the main character of this book.

That being said, Longley continues his story with the same simple and direct prose that characterized his first book. His style matures slightly as well, becoming more descriptive and a little less abrupt. His unique interpretations of the life of the Messiah, along with his interesting and plausible explanations of miraculous events and his indications that Maria of Magdala played a vital role in the ministry of God’s son, make for a fascinating and intriguing story and increase anticipation for the third and final book in the series.

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Star Count 3/5
Format Trade
Page Count 462 pages
Publisher iUniverse
Publish Date 18-Nov-2009
ISBN 9781440178900 Buy this Book
Issue August 2010
Category Historical Fiction


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