NetGalley Top Reviewer

NetGalley Top Reviewer
NetGalley Top Reviewer

Saturday, July 10, 2010

The Fire Gospel by Michel Faber

3.0 out of 5 stars The impact of a hidden Gospel..., July 10, 2010

This review is from: The Fire Gospel (Paperback)
This is a short novel said to be based upon the myth of Prometheus -- the Greek god who stole fire from Zeus and gave it to the mortals. Faber's book has the main character, Theo Griepenkerl, stealing nine papyrus scrolls that were secreted inside a wall mounted bas-relief and hidden for two thousand years from a war-torn museum in Iraq, writing a translation of them into a bestselling book, and the resultant consequences of his act of perfidy.

At times satirical and always sardonic, THE FIRE GOSPEL is often humorous and very clever. Theo muses on this academic coup as he translates the scrolls from Aramaic into the novel that will be his undoing. He finally finds a publisher for his work and soon the book shoots to number one on the bestseller lists. Theo does that requisite madcap book tour and, during fits of anxiety, sneaks down into the lobby of his hotel to read the reviews posted on amazon (that part alone was the most hilarious in the book - I laughed out loud). The book Theo wrote is often called "incendiary" by reviewers as it sets Christianity on fire -- the papyrus scrolls come to be known as the Fifth Gospel. Written by a purported eyewitness to the crucifixion, a bystander and former scribe to Caiaphas, Malchus' revelations cause the faithful to examine and question closely held beliefs. Amidst demonstrations and book burnings, Theo is referred to as the "minion of Satan" and finds himself at the mercy of fanatics.

The book jumps around and seems disjointed and not fully developed. I did enjoy it, but not nearly as much as I loved The Crimson Petal and the White. It definitely will provide an evening of entertainment and most likely cause some rumination or reflection on the topics of faith, the Bible, and religion.

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