The End of the Magi – Patrick Carr

The End of the Magi by Patrick W. Carr
Published by Bethany House on November 5, 2019
Genres: Fiction, Christian, Historical, Biblical
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four-stars

Following his vision of the coming Messiah, the prophet Daniel creates a select group of men who will count down the calendar to the arrival of Israel’s promised king. Centuries later, as the day nears, Myrad, a young magi acolyte, flees for his life when his adoptive father and others are put to death by a ruthless Parthian queen.

Having grabbed only a few possessions, Myrad escapes the city, and searching for a way to hide from the soldiers scouring the trade routes, he tries to join the caravan of the merchant Walagash. The merchant senses that Myrad is hiding secrets, but when the young man proves himself a valuable traveler, an epic journey filled with peril, close escapes, and dangerous battles begins.

With every day that passes, the calendar creeps closer to the coming Messiah. And over everything shines the dream of a star that Myrad can’t forget and the promise that the world will never be the same.

The Magi have been shrouded in legend since their singular, enigmatic appearance in the Gospels. By AD 500, the early church fathers had reworked them as kings. Later reformers, such as John Calvin, pushed back toward a position of Eastern mystics. Their number is unknown—the number three is traditional because three named gifts were brought. Some traditions number them at a dozen.

Artwork throughout the ages portrays the Magi, the wise men, the kings—however they be identified—as various ages, ethnicities, and from varied cultural backgrounds and traditions. Legends have developed from many different cultures within Christianity—Western, Eastern, Syriac, and Oriental all claiming different names and backgrounds for the Magi.

The End of the Magi seeks to add to those traditions, not as purported non-fiction, but as fiction, and with a tale every bit as exciting and fantastical as the ancient legends. Biblical fiction can be a beast to write because authors are hamstrung by historical and biblical narrative. But the Magi are a group ripe for extrapolation. They’ve long piqued the imagination and their appearance in Scripture is so brief as to leave a lot of room for fictional speculation.

And it’s into that world that Patrick Carr takes us. The End of the Magi introduces us to Myrad, a club-footed adopted son of a Magi who is forced to flee when the queen turns upon the Magi. In this world, the Magi are Parthian mystics, a group created by the prophet Daniel to count down the time to the coming Messiah.

Carr takes quite a bit of biblical license here, though no more so than many of the “official” legends of the Magi. In fact, his perspective is steeped in history and his perception of the Magi—Daniel aside—may be more accurate than most.

Myrad escapes, joining the caravan of the tradesman Walagash. Myrad proves an adept salesman and valuable traveler. But through it all, Myrad must deal with his Magi past—both because he is being hunted and because he may be one of the final few who know of the coming Messiah.

The End of the Magi is a breath of fresh air into an often-recycled genre filled with the same stories. By deviating from the established tradition, Carr manages to pen a thoroughly original and exciting story that nonetheless ties into the biblical narrative. A fun and enjoyable read!

four-stars

About Patrick W. Carr

After graduating from Georgia Tech, Patrick W. Carr worked at a nuclear plant, did design work for the Air Force, worked for a printing company, and was an engineering consultant. Patrick’s day gig for the last six years has been teaching high school math in Nashville, TN. He lives in Nashville with his wife and four sons.

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