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on 30 March 2007
The Secret Magdalene is a beautiful book, both evocative of its times and yet resonant with our own. The author, Ki Longfellow, has researched her characters and time period with stunning detail that allows us to enter into a time removed from our own and experience it as we imagine those people must have experienced it, and yet when we re-enter our own time period we are enriched by those people's lives and experiences.

You don't have to be a Christian to love this book and to take meaning from it. It operates on many layers from that of being a mesmerizing story of ancient times, to that of being an original and moving retelling of the Christ story through Mary Magdalene's eyes (in this book a strong and powerful teacher in her own right), to a study of Gnosticism and modern spirituality.

Read it again and again to find even more depths and layers of meaning. Longfellow's language is sheer poetry and yet effortless.
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on 10 April 2007
I believe that this book will be a classic.

It involves the reader intellectually, by being well researched and beautifully crafted, weaving the known with the unknown and speculations in a logical way.

Ms Longfellow has a great command of language and imagery. As a result, reading the book is a vivid experience: the place as well as the people come to life, the reader becomes a participant in the unfolding drama.

It is a great book to give as a present to people who are interested in the origins of Christianity.
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on 17 March 2010
A truly extraordinary piece of work and imagination. Much research and background has produced writing that is often evocative and exciting, penetrating a dusty ancient world and bringing it to life.

I read this after 'Wolf Hall' - another brick of a book that tries to take you back to another world. I have, by comparison, all but forgotten Wolf Hall, but this book lingers in the mind, transporting you two thousand years back into a scorched, sandy, pre-Darwinian world struggling to make sense of being a human. It's hard work - like the characters, roaming round the desert for most of its' life, then introducing the Jesus story and the terrible broken world of misunderstanding, bigotry and closed minds. I kept thinking of the mess of the modern Middle East with the intolerance, factional rivalries and petty stalking religious arguments through its' history - the longing for peace and security while still steeped in the aggression and murderous defensiveness of our ancestors.

It's good to see the Jesus story portrayed more realistically in its' social and political dimension without the silly romanticisation and mystique. It makes it all the more astonishing that the human will to contain and organise ideas can take a simple message and turn it into a vast world movement responsible for so much bloodshed and corruption crashing its' way through the centuries. It's would seem an impossible task trying to bring enlightenment to a babbling world of corruption, superstition and desperate human needs.

The book does tend to drag in places, not really saying very much or seeming to go anywhere, and for such a long book it seems rather rushed and thin towards the end. However it does draw a vivid picture of a pre-Christian society dominated by brutal Roman repression and the muttering undercurrents of resentment and insurgency.
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on 9 September 2013
I good read. Frankly i have always wished i had the talent to write a story like this. We will never know the truth but equally many if not most of us believe there are logical explanations for the reported miracles. There will be those who will be much offended by the story but I think it tries to deal with the subject with appropriate deference. I did think the vial of liquid that allowed Jesus to pretend dead was far from logical - but I do not have the creativity to present a better solution. I congratulate the author on a thought provoking book.
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on 1 January 2014
Ki Longfellow, as usual, writes beautifully and spins her plot masterfully. She's an excellent storyteller. In the case of this book, however, I did not find her portrayal of Mary Magdalene very believable.
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on 1 August 2010
As always, around this time of year I start searching through The Donkey Sanctuary in Devon's gift sight "Donkey World" cards for Christmas. I am always stunned by the beauty, and gentle cleverness of the artists. I was particularly struck by "The Journey". There are two versions of the image, one with a foal, one without. The new version with the foal brought to mind this book, "The Secret Magdalene" by Ki Longfellow. Though this is the story of Mary Magdalene, it is also very much the story of her relationship with one very special Donkey named Eio. Eio being the ancient egyptian word for Donkey. The book follows the life of this foal, her friendship with Jesus and Mary Magdalene and her important role she played throughout their lives. A remarkable account! The most poignant quote from the book is one those who love Donkeys can relate to: " Leading Eio, I am content to be doing anything". This book will make you "re-think" the Donkey you see in the Flight to Egypt, the Entry into Jerusalem and the Crucifixion images. I wrote the poem "Enter Into O, Jerusalem...Donkey" after reading this book. Eio also being the impetus for the title of that poem! My book is entitled "Opening Doors:An equilog of poetry about Donkeys". This book, "The Secret Magdalene" I shall read again and again and I recommend it as a gift to give for any occasion. It will help you to realize, as Mary Magdalene did, to continue unceasingly to introduce into all our actions, even the most banal and everyday, just a little more consciousness and love.
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on 9 November 2015
Surprised it isn't better known. Great novel not to be confused with faith scripture and other materials.
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