The magi acolyte Myrad has seen the star, but he needs to save his life before he can follow that star.
If you’re anything like me, when you read the Christmas Story, you focus on the baby in Bethlehem, Jerusalem, and taxes. Somewhere after the angels singing to the shepherds, there come the magi. Who are they? They’re magicians or astrologers or something for some foreign court. They brings gifts that signify kingship, death, and sacrifice. There might be three of them. They come from “somewhere” east of Jerusalem. Following a star, they visit Herod, then the baby, and then go home by a different route. And that’s what I know about the magi, which is to say, basically nothing.
I forget there is an entire world beyond the borders of Israel and Rome, an entire world filled with peoples, kings, politics, empires, trade routes, and history that have direct bearing on the events in Israel. It’s as though while reading about the American war for independence, we neglect to note there is an England or an ocean.
there is an entire world beyond the borders of Israel and Rome, an entire world filled with peoples, kings, politics, empires, trade routes, and history that have direct bearing on the events in Israel.
Not so Patrick Carr. In this historical novel we are introduced to the peoples, kings, politics, empires and trade routes of that time. I was so glad for the map he included in the book. I consulted it often.
The End of the Magi is no dry history because it is filled with people being people. The main character, Myrad, is a young man with a bright future despite having a club foot. After his mother had died and he was left alone in the market, a wealthy, Jewish magi adopted him and introduced him to the order established by Daniel. Hundreds of years after Daniel wrote his last prophecies, magi are still counting the days until a messiah king arises.
On the very day that Myrad is to become an acolyte in the ranks of the Magi, a disagreement in the court leads to the slaughter of the Magi. The young man barely escapes and must run for his life, something that is hard to do with a club foot that causes agony with each step. However, Myrad is intelligent and inventive. He must use every ounce of those traits as he navigates conspiracies, betrayals, soldiers, and wars between countries as he is guided by the star in the west.
The author’s theory about the Christmas star is one I had not heard before and is interesting. All the characters are interesting and highly varied from each other.
Although the writing isn’t as scintillating as that in Patrick Carr’s Darkwater Saga, it it more than adequate in this rollicking tale of searching for the messiah king. I was at first a little disappointed when the prose turned out to be, well, prosaic at times, but then I became caught up in the story and did not even notice the writing style.
I appreciated the three main themes of the book. When what is prophesied comes to pass, it doesn’t always look like what one would think. God uses unlikely people to accomplish his purposes. And lastly, let women do what they want to do. I also liked that Myrad did not instantly learn how to do a certain style of archery. He demonstrated that when someone tries to learn how to do something hard, that someone is going to be bad at the hard thing for a long time.
God uses unlikely people to accomplish his purposes.
If you homeschool teenagers, this novel is a good way to immerse them in the history of the Middle East two thousand years ago. I highly recommend this book for age 12 to adult.
Cursing: none in English
Violence: There is quite a bit, though it is not graphic. There are lots of arrows shot at people and the occasional sword fight. There are people without weapons being slaughtered by soldiers.
Availability: You can find this title on Amazon.
Lelia Rose Foreman has raised and released five children. Everyone survived. She also homeschooled fourteen years with similar results. You can find her Christian science-fiction, A Shattered World in English or Spanish. She writes science fantasy adventure, Tales from Talifar with her oldest son, a video game artist, under the name Rose Foreman.