Linked to Biblical sources, the story of the legendary Magi comes to us in a surprising conjunction of fantasy and historical events. The likes of Herod the Great and Herod Antipas, John the Baptiser, and Jesus of Nazareth, Joseph Caiaphas and Pontius Pilate, Herodias and Salome, spring to life again to confront creatures of the imagination such as Caspar, Melchior, Balthazar, Leah, Purim, Deborah, Eliachim and many others.
With the arrival of the Magi in Jerusalem, innumerable connections emerge among characters and events – progressively generating the plot of the novel.
There were rumours and prophecies circulating at that time in Jerusalem regarding a forthcoming king of the Jews, and King Herod – the fake Jew – is frantic with fears. At that same time a comet is sighted in the night sky. It is a visible light: the counterpart of the invisible angelic lights guiding each one of the Magi in search of the new-born king of the Jews.
After the encounter, the Magi are transformed into ordinary faithful men and proceed to return to the East, while the rabid king fooled by the Magi orders a mass murder of little children. The story progresses all the way to the spreading news of resurrection, and further on to include Empress Helena, the relics of the Magi and their seizure by Frederick Barbarossa.
In 1904, a part of the relics are returned from Cologne to Milan. In a brief prologue, the author narrates how she casually learned that the relics of the Magi are to be found in the city of Milan, in the ancient basilica of Saint Eustorgius.
Reviews and Endorsements:
"This beautifully crafted little book takes the reader on a captivating journey into a world where historical biblical events converge with the author’s vibrant imagination and valuable, timeless insights into the human psyche. This outstanding book is sure to find an appreciative audience."
- Dr Antonino Ferro, president of the Italian Psychoanalytic Society
"Out of the riches of her work, Gemma Corradi Fiumara has produced this imaginative and touching retelling of one of the most beautiful of the biblical narratives, the story of the visit of the three wise men to the infant Jesus in Bethlehem. Embroidered with legend and myth, the story is captivating but, as the author makes evident, dark with terror and death in the midst of new life."
- Janet Soskice, president of Jesus College, University of Cambridge
"This is a wonderful book destined to be a classic; it is the ideal gift for a real friend."
- Giancarlo Marchetti, University of Perugia
Table of Contents:
About the author
Prologue: Christmas in Milan
1) Who could the Magi be? Stories and history
2) The purchase of a donke
3) Leah and Purim
4) A belated wedding present
5) Alone again
6) The dreadful reign of Herod the Great
7) Mariamne and Herod
8) The journey of the Magi: Caspar, Melchior, and Balthasar
9) Stars: visible and invisible
10) The arrival of the Magi
11) The council of Herod
12) Confrontations in the palace
13) The robber mother
14) The narrow escape of the Magi
15) The end of Magianism
16) The night of horrors
17) Joseph of Arimathaea and the new family
18) The marvellous dance—with murder
19) Deborah and Eliachim
20) A wedding long awaited
21) The pilgrim empress and the relics of the Magi: from Bethlehem to Milan
About the Author:
Gemma Corradi Fiumara is a training and supervising analyst with the Italian Psychoanalytic Society, and was formerly Professor of Philosophy at the Third University of Rome, Italy.