"The best one yet!"--Catherine MacCoun, author of On Becoming an Alchemist"As usual, Cunningham provides plenty of juicy controversy embodied by vivid characters and expressed in vigorous action, all in crisply drawn biblical settings."--Booklist"Gleefully iconoclastic. For that dwindling demographic with a sense of humor about religion, Maeve's profane skewering of the all-too-human foibles of the Church fathers is a hoot." Kirkus Reiews""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 FireAfter playing an intimate role in the mystery of the Resurrection, what is left for Maeve, the Celtic Mary Magdalen? Never a follower, will she emerge as a leader of the early church? 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 Sara, and Jesus' mother flee to the remote Taurus Mountains where they live in hiding among the Galatians until a mysterious man is dumped on their doorstep more dead than alive. When Maeve discovers the identity of the man she has healed, she is appalled and determined 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.Required reading for fans and accesible to those new to The Maeve Chronicles, Bright Dark Madonna takes the reader on a breathtaking journey from the temple porticoes of Jerusalem, to the Temple of Artemis in Ephesus, to the south of France, and, as always, to the treacherous, beautiful terrain of the human heart.
The sequel to the best-selling novel THE PASSION OF MARY MAGDALEN. 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 human heart.
"Smart and earthy . . . richly imaginative . . . the epitome of the storyteller's art."--St. Louis Post-Dispatch, named one of "The Year's Best Books""This amazing book could well become a classic of women's literature."--Booklist, named one of the "Year's Ten Best Fantasy Books"Young Magdalen and Jesus, brimming with youthful charm and arrogance, find each other and fall in love, forging a bond that is stronger than death. Their pleasure is overshadowed by a brilliant but unbalanced druid who knows a perilous secret about Maeve's past. The prequel to The Passion of Mary Magdalen. Now in paperback!
Young Magdalen and Jesus, brimming with youthful charm and arrogance, find each other and fall in love, forging a bond that is stronger than death. Their pleasure is overshadowed by a brilliant but unbalanced druid who knows a perilous secret about Maeve's past. The prequel to The Passion of Mary Magdalen.
"Cunningham weaves Hebrew scripture, Celtic and Egyptian mythology, and early Christian legend into a nearly seamless whole, creating an unforgettable fifth gospel story in which the women most involved in Jesus's ministry are given far more representation."--Library Journal"This year's must-have summer reading."--KINK Radio"Lavish and lusty . . . Cunningham's Celtic Magdalen is as hot in the mouth as Irish whiskey."--Beliefnet (chosen as one of this year's "heretical beach-books")"Explodes off the page with its tales of love, hope, power, and redemption--book clubs looking for a great discussion, take note."--TheBookBrothel.com
"THIS IS A PASSION STORY: MY PASSION, HIS PASSION, OURS--YOURS." The most provocative woman in the Gospels, Mary Magdalen makes only a few, dramatic appearances. You always knew there had to be more... Make way for Maeve, the feisty, outspoken Celtic Magdalen, telling her own story, on her own terms. No one's disciple, she is lover, bard, priestess, healer. And like her beloved Jesus, Maeve incarnates the divine mystery of love--in the flesh. Flesh we first encounter stripped naked and displayed on a slave block in Rome. Born to warrior witches on an island in the Celtic Otherworld, raised to be a hero, Maeve is determined to find her lost beloved, a young man known to the Celts as Esus, whose life she once saved at enormous cost to herself. She has survived a shipwreck, trekked through the mountains of Celtic Iberia. Only an imperial power could slow this woman down. Snapped up by an aristocratic madam, Maeve becomes not only an accomplished whore but also has a startling encounter with the goddess Isis, whose story of loss and longing affects Maeve deeply. A failed attempt at escape results in even more bitter slavery when Maeve is sold to a spoiled young matron with a terrible secret. Here in the house of her enemy, Maeve learns the healing mysteries that become the basis of her life--and his. When Maeve lands in mortal trouble, priestesses, whores, matrons, and even Rome's chief Vestal Virgin must unite to bring about her rescue. Free at last, Maeve goes straight to Palestine where she meets Mary of Bethany, a prickly would-be rabbinical scholar, and Ma (yes, his mother), a fey but autocratic matriarch. Neither one knows where Jesus is, he has vanished again. What is a girl to do but settle down in the good-time town of Magdala and open her own holy whore house, welcome each stranger as if he were a god--until, at last, he is. Equally strong-willed and charismatic, Maeve and Jesus form a union that is as stormy as it is ecstatic. Throughout the terrain of the Gospels--its healings, exorcisms, miracles, feasting, riots, and terrifying prophecy--the lovers fight and make love, comfort and confront each other, infusing this unique passion narrative with passion in all its meanings. In this central novel of The Maeve Chronicles, acclaimed novelist Cunningham brings us a Mary Magdalen who defines all stereotypes--old and new. Passionate and unrepentant, fierce and tender, Maeve leaps off the page, a luminous, embodied archetype for our time.
After a life of passion and adventure that has brought her through slavery to the Resurrection garden, through the controversies of the Early Church to a hermit cave in southern gaul, Maeve, the Celtic Mary Magdalen, returns to the Holy Isles accompanied by Sarah, her daughter with Jesus. Their mission: to find Maeve's first-born child, stolen from her by the druids more than forty years ago.Since then, Maeve's homeland has suffered it's own trials--Roman invasion and occupation. The Celtic tribes to the east and south are under direct rule, and the Romans are determined to rout the resistance of the western tribes, resistance fueled by the druids of Mona. Just before she crosses the channel from Gaul to Britain, Maeve encounters a man she mistakes for Jesus's ghost. This familiar stranger is equally haunted, and the two are drawn into a moonstruck liason that will entwine their lives in "an impossible Celtic knot." For unbeknownst to Maeve at the time, he is none other than General Gaius Suetonius Paulinus, the newly-appointed Roman Governor of Britain.Maeve keeps this troubling tryst a secret even after she finds her long-lost daughter Boudica, the fierce and charismatic queen of the Iceni tribe. Druid-trained in her youth, Boudica married the Iceni king, hoping to rally him to a rebellion for which he has no stomach. Now estranged from her husband, Boudica keeps the old ways, sustained by her pride in her descent form her father (and Maeve's!) the late great druid Lovernios.Seeking to circumvent disaster, Maeve travels back and forth from Iceni country to Mona, from the heart of native resistance to a Roman fort on the Western front, steadfast in her conviction: "Love is as strong as death."
The Goddess has returned. She's taken shape as a clay figure in the unlikely hands of an Episcopal priest's wife, a innocent event that ends up changing the lives of everyone around. She invades the dreams of a wealthy old woman who thinks women priests are a scandal. She entices a poker-playing, Black ex-convict into totally unfamiliar terrain. Then there's the wild old man in the woods who's watching for a sign. In the struggle between Pagan and Christian values, between sex and the sacred, these and other remarkable characters are transformed utterly, united in an urgent call to save a sacred grove. Blackwood, an old estate in the Hudson Valley and the heart of this compelling novel, shelters an ancient stand of trees, a repository of healing power that will be lost to the world if the trees fall. Like forests the world over, Blackwood is under immediate threat from developers who worship no god but "the bottom line." Against these seemingly inexorable forces stand four human beings, awakening to themselves, to each other, to their own unsuspected strengths, and the irresistible, erotic, life-giving power of the Goddess. Theirs is a story rich with Divine and Human comedy, by turns irreverent and profound, outrageously funny and extremely tender. With remarkable psychological depth and literary subtlety, Elizabeth Cunningham writes in the great story-telling tradition of C.S. Lewis and George MacDonald--but from a deeply female, earth-centered point of view. For readers of Marion Zimmer Bradley's THE MISTS OF AVALON, Ms. Cunningham's novel offers an added appeal. She tells us: The Goddess is Now. This is your life. She is happening to you.
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