Testament | Penguin Random House Canada
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Publisher: Anchor Canada
Provocative, ambitious and rich in the sights and smells of the ancient world, Testament brings a new perspective to the greatest story ever told.

From Governor General’ s Award-winner Nino Ricci, one of Canada’s most highly acclaimed literary voices, Testament is a bold work of historical fiction. Set in a remote corner of the Roman Empire at a moment of political unrest and spiritual uncertainty, it re-tells the life of a holy man of enormous charisma who alters the course of human history. Grounded in extensive research, and written with the poetic sensibility that has earned Ricci an international reputation, Testament vividly recreates first-century Palestine in elegant but accessible prose to explore the story of the man we know as Jesus.


Book I

Yihuda of Qiryat

I first saw him in the winter of that year at En Melakh, a town of a few hundred just north of the Salt Sea. He had come in out of the desert, people said -- from the look of him, his blistered face and the way his skin hung from his bones, he’d passed a good while there....
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1. Nino Ricci is a writer often praised for his ability to create utterly believable characters and to “recreate the world entire and make us believe in it” (The Globe and Mail on Lives of the Saints). What challenges do you think he faced in this regard when writing Testament?


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Winner of the Trillium Award
Finalist for the Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize
Finalist for the Commonwealth Writers' Prize (Canada and Caribbean)
A Booklist Choice for Top Ten Historical Novels of the Year
A Times Literary Supplement Book of the Year

“Perhaps Nino Ricci’s greatest achievement in Testament, his altogether remarkable fourth novel, is that he manages to make the life of Jesus new again--through vitality, freshness, emotional engagement, and compelling storytelling. It’s quite an accomplishment.” Vancouver Sun

“The vividness of Ricci’s writing and his unusual angle make for a compelling read.” The Toronto Star

“Ricci has given us a contemporary Jesus. Like a palimpsest, with each fresh image superimposed on earlier images, Ricci’s Jesus testifies to the inexhaustible power of story, reminding us that enduring myths are not windows through which we view objective truths, but mirrors framing our own evanescent mortality and morality plays.” The Globe and Mail

“Memorable, captivating and unsettling, the prose is impeccable.” Noah Richler, National Post

“Ricci has taken an enormous risk, and the result is exhilarating.... A stunning achievement.” Edmonton Journal

“A bold and brilliant premise for a novel...and Ricci doesn’t disappoint.” The Gazette (Montreal)

“Compelling...balances history and parable, political conflict and religious faith.” Ottawa Citizen