From Afar: The Journey of the Three Magi
Publisher: Tumblar House
Publication Date: October 17, 2016
The Magi, or Three Kings, of the Nativity story are among the best loved yet most mysterious figures in all history. The fleeting and sparse account in St. Matthew's Gospel raises as many questions as it answers. It has been so embroidered over the centuries that the original historical context has been almost completely buried. Yet the world of the early first century was as dynamic and intriguing as any legend - and much more perilous.
In his compelling novelization of the journey of the Magi, Roger Thomas draws on Scripture, history, and modern research. This swift-moving tale brings these shadowed figures to vivid life. You meet them as men of their time and culture: learned and noble, yet experienced with a brutal world and even violent when necessary. Come with them as they search for a King they do not understand, and seek for answers to questions lying in the deepest parts of their souls - providing they survive the dangers of the journey.
There are battles, but nothing graphic.Profanity: None Alcohol/Drugs/Smoking: None
Roger Thomas is expert in his storytelling, and From Afar portrays the Holy Family as real people, personal and touching and relatable. I have rarely read such well-crafted prose, and plan to reread this and savor it again, the way I savor my favorite foods and the very best fiction. This is the kind of literature I want to have around for my kids and favorite people to read. - Sarah Reinhard, Bestselling Author and Award-Winning Blogger, Word By Word: Slowing Down with the Hail Mary and SnoringScholar.com
Using transparent prose, Roger Thomas dives into the cultural and historical currents of the era to bring new depth and freshness to the iconic tale of the biblical Magi. An obvious choice for the Christmas season, this novel can be read and enjoyed at any time of the year. - Michael Nicholas Richard, author of Tobit's Dog
This meticulously researched story about the Magi immerses the reader in the first century Middle East, from Parthia to Roman occupied Israel--cultures, religions and religious texts, kingdoms and empires, political intrigues, and the stars in the heavens which the wise men read like books. These three men come alive as they draw us into the perilous quest they decide to undertake. You may think you know the story, but your wonder and awe will deepen for having read Roger Thomas' captivating tale. - T.M. Doran, author Toward the Gleam, Terrapin, Iota
From Afar is expertly written, carefully crafted and fast moving. I enjoyed the plot points that showed how the Magi's gifts were attained, and linked them with the symbolism of King, Priest and Suffering Servant. Battle scenes and strategy sessions heightened the action of the book, and the final meeting in Bethlehem was tender, majestic and moving--just as it should be. -- Dwight Longenecker, Blogger and author of Mystery of the Magi-the Quest to Identify the Three Wise Men.
Roger Thomas is a self-employed computer consultant and corporate instructor who lives in Michigan with his wife Ellen. They have raised six children and are now helping those children raise their 14 (at last count) grandchildren. He loves reading, especially works by the Inklings, and baking bread to enjoy with homemade grape jam. From Afar is his third book. For subsequent books in his Watchful Sky series, click here.
This book is interesting and an easy read. It is well researched. If you ever wanted to delve more deeply into the story of the magi, this is a great story to help you do it. Although it is fiction, by reading it you will feel like you are there. I highly recommend this book.
I read this book and got a copy for my son and another for my nephew. It was that good! I had the benefit of reading this in the first two weeks of January. It had the effect of extending the Christmas season for me. This year, an extension of Christmas is a real blessing. The author extracted more meaning from the nativity in a manner that was easy to read and engaging.
This is an excellent book with a vivid and real depiction of the ancient world before Christ. It demonstrates how imperfect people who are seeking valid truth can be impacted if they’re willing to submit to the truth. So it is extremely relevant to our time.
Recommend this book for those who are interested in travelling with the magi to see the newborn king. I am currently on my second readthrough because I enjoyed it so much the first time. You can tell the author did a great deal of research for this book.
Under the Watchful Sky was gripping but From Afar much more so. This is a beautiful work of imaginative story-telling, bringing to life plausible backstories of the Three Magi. It is a fast paced and exciting read from the first page that all lead to the beautiful and peaceful presentation to the Holy Family. The last page is particularly wonderful as one imagines the exciting movement of the Faith in those times.
An excellent work from a master story teller. Bravo.
Excellent, easy and enjoyable to read. Purchased this book for Christmas and found it in my stocking. I found this it to be the historical view I was for which I have been looking for some time now. I wanted to gain insight into what it would have been like for the pre-Christian world to receive news of a Savior. This books tackles that perspective through the eyes of none other than the three Magi. Pagan astronomers of the ancient world - with its star charts, astrology, pagan gods, and rising and falling empires - may have been growing tired of the constant disappointments offered by a world where gods seemed to be of man's imagination. But then, they read the skies one last time...and the rest we know.
Mr. Roger Thomas fills in the details of what may well have been that kept me turning the pages well past my bedtime. Thank you Mr. Thomas.
Who were the Three Magi, who visited the newborn Christ in the manger on the first Christmas? From Afar presents a historical fictional account of who these men were, and what they had to endure to go from Persia to Roman Judea. Having grown up with watching movies on the Nativity, it was refreshing to see not so much who the Magi were, but an aquainting of the setting of which these men lived in. It's tempting to think that a journey from Persia to Bethlehem, though long, was otherwise uneventful, like going on a simple road trip for the weekend. The Massacre of the Innocents under Herod would be a clue as to what kind of a world Christ was entering, and what the Magi lived with. I recommend From Afar for its prose and historic approach, apart from the varnished Hollywood portrayals we're used to seeing every Christmas.
I would give it a 5 star. Loved this book. Found it so meaningful.
I absolutely loved the story. It's action-packed, but filled with nuance. Roger Thomas's story-telling is masterful. The whole story is very fast-paced, but then when it slows down for the climactic nativity section, that's really when it turns into a beautiful masterpiece.
Roger Thomas is expert in his storytelling, and From Afar portrays the Holy Family as real people, personal and touching and relatable. I have rarely read such well-crafted prose, and plan to reread this and savor it again, the way I savor my favorite foods and the very best fiction. This is the kind of literature I want to have around for my kids and favorite people to read.