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The Man Clothed in Linen [Kindle Edition]

Robert Earle
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)

Kindle Price: $4.99
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  • Length: 433 pages (estimated)
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Historical Fiction
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Book Description

The Man Clothed in Linen begins with a virgin named Mary brought to King Herod’s sickbed to warm him. When Herod hears that the virgin is pregnant, he orders her child killed. Joanna the steward’s wife thwarts Herod’s order, not the last time she’ll play a key role in the unfolding drama.

In Herod’s last will, he names his reckless son, Archelaus, as his successor. Rome acquiesces, but when Palestine goes up in flames , Rome removes Archelaus and only permits his brother, Herod Antipas, to rule Galilee and Peraea as a prince, not a king.

And there in his new princedom Herod Antipas is confronted by a childhood friend determined to criticize him. This is John the Baptist. Beheading the Baptist does nothing to dispel the people’s disquiet, for soon thereafter the charmed boy who escaped Herod’s wrath appears. Jesus of Nazareth begins threading a dangerous path between revolutionaries and zealots on the one side and supporters of the Temple and Rome on the other.

The battle is set: Pilate wants to control all of Palestine, Herod Antipas wants to reclaim the entirety of his father’s kingdom, and Jesus thinks Palestine is no more than a prelude to the ultimate conquest of the human heart.

Product Details

  • File Size: 1052 KB
  • Print Length: 433 pages
  • Publisher: MC Writing (October 7, 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B005013510
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,440,536 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A compelling look into the life and times of Jesus February 9, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition
"The Man Clothed in Linen" is a compelling look, not only into the story of Jesus, but into the complex political climate of the times. Being well acquainted with both Old and New Testaments, as well as living in Israel these past 30 plus years, I can appreciate the amount of research that went into the writing of this novel. The end result feels quite authentic, although - of course - there is quite a bit of speculation.

The narrative is seen through the eyes of Nicolas, a Greek who served the key figures of the time: tutoring the children of Antony and Cleopatra in Egypt, serving as advisor to King Herod and later Herod's sons in Israel, as well as advisor to the Roman Emperor Augustus and his wife Livia in Rome. By basing the narrative on someone who is neither Roman nor Jew, we are seemingly presented with a much more objective and comprehensive look at a very complex situation. And understanding the complex political situation is vital in attempting to understand who Jesus was and the role he was to play.

The description of the life of Jesus in the New Testament is based on a small number of carefully selected texts. At times these texts appear to be carefully constructed to glorify the man, rather that present the reality of the human condition, and attempt to simplify a very complex situation. "The Man Clothed in Linen" not only helps us understand better the realities of the time, but also allows us to see better how Jesus would be viewed during his own lifetime.

While challenging many of our pre-conceived concepts, the book does not necessarily present an alternate reality. In fact, it leaves much of this open for us to decide.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great historical fiction! January 9, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition
This is a really great read. Earle takes the idea that Jesus may have been born of King Herod after mother, Mary, is forced to lay with Herod as he lays very sick. The story is mostly seen though not told from the point of view of Nicolas, Herod's trusted adviser of sorts and an educated man of his time. Nicolas is fascinating because he is running right with all of the big names of the time. He crosses path with many of the most powerful people when that area between Rome and Jerusalem really was the center of the world

The book could really be divided into different books. There is the story of Herod and his wives and the possible conception of Jesus. There is the story of Nicolas in Rome as he crosses paths with King Juba and Selene, the daughter of Cleopatra. This was probably my favorite section, mostly because I am absolutely fascinated with anything about ancient Rome (or present day Rome for that matter - hah). The last story is that of Jesus and his life. One thing I will say is the the timing of the different events in the first section was really difficult to follow. Some of the events regarding King Herod seem to flash back and forth between past and present and it was difficult to keep my place. The time becomes more linear as the book goes on so that issue is resolved later on.

This book definitely made me a little more interested in some of the bible personalities and stories that I don't know that much about. Even if you are not Christian or even not religious at all, I think this story can still be enjoyed as a straight historical fiction read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An entertaining and well-researched "origin story" November 11, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I read primarily to be entertained. If I happen to learn something along the way, that's a welcome bonus. The Man Clothed in Linen succeeds on both counts.

Robert Earle does for the story of Jesus what Mary Stewart did for the story of King Arthur. Like Stewart's Arthur, Earle's Jesus explores a more human side of a larger-than-life figure--more man than myth--shaped by his time. He builds a plausible and well-researched "origin story" of a Jesus who exists in a time and place far better documented than the man himself.

I think that's one of the attractions of this kind of historical fiction: The reader knows the overall framework and the marks the author will have to hit, so the fun is in seeing how he gets there. While you may know the overall plot, there's plenty of room for twists, turns and surprises along the way. And there are plenty of opportunities to stop and Google the various historical figures it portrays and discover some of the lesser-known history on which it's built.

Stewart's Arthur was seen through the eyes of Merlin (far more wise man than wizard); Earle's Jesus (more man than messiah) is observed via Nicholas of Damascus, an historian and counselor to kings.

As in Stewart's series, the main character is late appearing on stage, and remains a bit remote from the reader--we get the external view and plenty of others' reactions, but we never get inside their heads.

And not surprisingly, Rome plays a major role in both stories.

There's enough shared in other reviews here that I won't go into any detail about the storyline, but it's a story well-told. Earle has a gift for words and language.
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More About the Author

I have been writing fiction since my teens, somewhat interrupted by a 20+ year career in the Foreign Service, but now that's over and done with, and I write full time here in Arlington, Virginia.

In addition to THE MAN CLOTHED IN LINEN, which I have published in Kindle form, I have published a novel, THE WAY HOME (DayBue, 2004...Booklist, "Compelling debut...") and a memoir of a year in Iraq, NIGHTS IN THE PINK MOTEL (Naval Institute Press, 2008..."Engaging, insightful and challenging..." John Esposito, Professor at Georgetown University.)

My short stories have appeared in Mississippi Review, Larcom Review, Green Hills Literary Lantern, The MacGuffin, Iron Horse Literary Review, Hurricane Review, Black and White, Nassau Lit, Pangolin Papers, REAL, Blue Moon, Potomac Review, Iconoclast, Tryst, Prick of the Spindle, 34th Parallel, Quarterly West, Main Street Rag, and elsewhere.

My inspiration is sometimes observation and sometimes pure imagination. I am attracted to complex characters who are struggling to understand what is happening in their lives.

I had a classical education in high school, including Latin, Greek, and heavy doses of the Bible. At Princeton I was an English major with an emphasis on creative writing. At Johns Hopkins, I earned a master's degree from The Writing Seminars. My mentor was John Barth.

I've lived and worked in Latin America, Europe, and the Near East. I'm fluent in Spanish and German. I read all the time and I write every day.

My favorite authors include Flannery O'Connor, Saul Bellow, James Joyce, William Gass, William Faulkner, Alice Munro, Anton Chehkov, Mario Vargas Llosa, and Robert Musil. To push myself, I read philosophy and psychology. Schopenhauer is my favorite philosopher, but I've also spent a lot of time on American pragmatists, from William James through John Dewey to Richard Rorty.

I'm an introvert who spends a lot of time alone, but I have an active family life and a handful of very good friends.

Having finished THE MAN CLOTHED IN LINEN, I'm now writing a story cycle that carries The Brothers Karamazov through Siberia to the United States. These tales are not at all what Dostoevsky had in mind when he thought of writing a sequel, but that's the beauty of fiction: you can do with it what you want.

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