Xristos: Chosen of God is my fifth novel. I began writing it in 2007. The novel is a political drama set in the dawn of the first millennium. As the People of Israel await their Kingly and Priestly Messiahs, powerful men conspire to crush their hopes. These leaders see no reason to step aside for the Chosen of God. However, once, Jesus and his cousin John assemble their council of the Twelve Tribes of Israel the powers in charge have no choice but to act with deadly results.
At a time when it appeared that the Hebrew covenant with God had been broken and a foreign army occupied their county, the people of Israel awaited the arrival of the two men, chosen by God, to lead them to freedom, just as Moses and Aaron had done for their forefathers. Jesus and his cousin John, the Baptist, were destined to be those leaders promised by the prophets as the Kingly and Priestly messiahs. Three men stood in their way. The first was Caiaphas, the Chief Priest whose sole interest was keeping the Temple under control of the Pharisees. Jesus, a follower and student of Caiaphas’ chief rival Annas put him in league with the Sadducees whom the Pharisees had replaced as the keepers of the Temple. The second man separating Jesus and John from their throne was King Herod Antipas, viewed by many as a false King for not being from the line of David as was Jesus. Herod eventually orders the beheading of the Baptist, allowing Jesus, at Mary Magdalene’s urging, to do the unthinkable. He assumes the role of both the priestly and kingly messiah. The final man standing between Jesus and the throne was the Roman Governor, Pontius Pilate. His charge was to bring peace to the lands of Judea at any cost. This would be his last task, his last time to serve his emperor before he can end a career far too long in the making. He looks forward to leaving Palestine, returning to Rome and living out the rest of his life alone with his wife, Claudia. Claudia’s reputation as a powerful seer was known throughout the eternal city and now she calls on that reputation to convince her husband that he should not be here in Palestine. Following the arrest and beheading of the Baptist Jesus gathers twelve representatives from the tribes of Israel. He chooses Peter as their leader but quickly faces a growing schism among his twelve especially between Peter and Judas. This only compounds when Mary Magdalene, a known Zealot and member of the lost tribe of Benjamin, joins the twelve and quickly inserts herself between Jesus and Peter. As Peter tries to reassert his leadership among the group Jesus announces that they will go to Jerusalem at Passover to announce his claim to the throne of David. What Jesus doesn’t know is that one of his own, Judas Iscariot, has his own plan, a plan that involves taking he and his fellow Zealots capturing the Temple and using Caiaphas as hostage to trade with the Romans for Herod. The plan fails. Now Pilate takes the only action he has left to him. An action his wife warned him not to take.
My goal in writing Xristos was not to retell the Gospels, but to explore the political drama that made the events in Jerusalem at the turn of the century so important to world history. Advances in biblical archeology and New Testament scholarship presents a singular opportunity to explore this era as never before. Recent works such as Lamb, by Christopher Moore and Christ the Lord, by Anne Rice have attempted to cast a new light on the life of Jesus in popular literature. At the same time works on Atheism have appeared on best seller lists. I believe my novel combines both worlds. In addition it expands on the narrative of the last days of the life of Jesus fleshing out many of the central characters much like Nikos Kazantzakis’ The Last Temptation of Christ, a work which greatly influenced me.