cover image The Holy Conspiracy

The Holy Conspiracy

Kristi Saare Duarte. Conspicuum, $4.99 e-book (292p) ISBN 978-0-9971-8075-6

This gratifying tale from Duarte (The Transmigrant) explores what life was like for Jesus’ disciples after his crucifixion. Six months after Yeshua’s death, his brother, Yakov, has been selected as the next leader of the burgeoning spiritual movement started by Yeshua. While Mariamne, Yeshua’s wife, claims to have been visited by Yeshua after death, the rest of the disciples believe him to be dead. As it becomes harder for the disciples to remain in Galilee undetected by the Romans, most move to Judea, hoping to blend in there. Over years, they begin secretly meeting and sharing Yeshua’s message with others, but they become split upon arrival of Saul, who claims to have met Yeshua on the road to Damascus. As Saul continues to give sermons and gain followers, his interpretation of Yakov’s message (which focuses on a savior figure) diverges from and becomes more popular than the message Yakov’s disciples are trying to spread. In the end, Yakov realizes Yeshua’s idea that “we’ll all be released from the bitterness of this world and unite with God” when he faces the same fate at the hands of the Romans. This intriguing reinterpretation of the New Testament makes for an enjoyable unraveling of the traditional narrative of the Gospels and ancient Judean spiritual politics. Mesu Andrews fans will want to take a look. (Self-published)