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By Elizabeth Cunningham
"It is a testament to Elizabeth Cunningham’s genius that (unlike the New Testament) her story loses none of its narrative momentum after Jesus leaves it. Deeper, more reflective than the previous volumes, yet even more audacious, this latest installment of the Maeve Chronicles is the best yet." —Catherine MacCoun, author ofOn Becoming an Alchemist
"Saints are homely, quirky, incarnate. They have fingernails, bones, and hair. You can touch them. You can talk to them. They might even talk back. And if a saint also happens to be a Celt, like me, just try to stop them talking…."
A saint is the last thing Maeve, the notably unrepentant Celtic Mary Magdalen, ever expected to be. She is not sure how it happened. Raised by warrior witches (Magdalen Rising) and serving as a whore in a temple dedicated to Isis (The Passion of Mary Magdalen) Maeve’s cosmology runs more to goddesses and beansidhe than to saints and angels. Also, she is not exactly a favorite with the leaders of the early church, who don’t know what to do with her after the Resurrection.
Never a follower, will Maeve emerge as a rival leader of the Jesus movement? Will she retire quietly to mother a sacred bloodline? Will she set sail for France to proselytize and go spelunking?
The answer: all and none of the above.
No sooner does Maeve open her mouth to preach the gospel her way, than a fierce debate begins about what to do with the child she is carrying. Maeve has her own ideas about where best to raise the savior’s scion. When she returns to Temple Magdalen, the holy whorehouse she founded, a custody battle of Biblical proportions ensues. Maeve, her infant daughter Sarah, and Jesus’s mother flee to the remote Taurus Mountains where they live in hiding among the Galatians until a mysterious stranger is dumped on their doorstep more dead than alive.
When Maeve discovers the identity of the man she has healed, she is appalled and more determined than ever to keep her family’s secret. But Maeve has reckoned without the will of her brilliant, angry adolescent daughter who resolves to find out the truth about her father—for herself.
Elizabeth Cunningham’s previous novels, The Passion of Mary Magdalen and Magdalen Rising, have met with critical and popular acclaim, but Bright Dark Madonna stands on its own as a literary achievement. A must-read for fans of THE MAEVE CHRONICLES, Bright Dark Madonna is readily accessible to those new to the series.
So welcome to all readers. Begin (or resume) your adventures with Maeve here
and now as this unlikely saint embarks on a breathtaking journey from the Temple
porticoes of Jerusalem, to the Temple of Artemis in Ephesus, to a remote cave in
the South of France—and as always: the treacherous, beautiful terrain of the
"Elizabeth Cunningham has again delved into her fabulous treasure trove of impeccable research, and come up with gold. In Bright Dark Madonna, her interweaving of Biblical-Celtic themes brings the first century to life with unexpected freshness and many surprises."
—Katherine Neville, author of The Eight and The Fire
"The turmoil of that first generation of Christians is remarkably recreated here with Maeve once again surviving against great odds. These were the years when her story got lost, but Cunningham’s erudition, keen insight, and imaginative voice won’t let that story be forgotten. Reading Bright Dark Madonna is a sheer joy."
—Tom Cowan, author ofFire in the Head: Shamanism and the Celtic Spirit
"Powerful, moving, hilariously funny, a brilliant blend of paganism and Christianity, Elizabeth Cunningham’s new novel imagines the missing, feminist story of the New Testament. And what a visionary tale she tells. Anyone who loved The Passion of Mary Magdalen will be ready to snatch up this sequel and continue to follow Maeve’s journey through the lustful geography of the soul to grasp the ever-changing identity of the Bright Dark Madonna."
—Mary Swander, author of The Desert Pilgrim: En Route to Mysticism and Miracles
"In Bright Dark Madonna, Elizabeth Cunningham performs a miracle of her own, breathing life into an important historical period we only dimly see through the haze of myth, legend, and dogma. She gives us the best gift a talespinner can—a perfectly possible reality that appeals both to our intellect and to our imagination."
—Jack Maguire, author of Creative Storytelling and The Power of Personal Storytelling