could I do bet read it, when of an enclosed proof its
publisher told me: 'I am sending you a book which we feel
is one of the most extraordinary and impressive novels
we have ever published. Everyone is enormously excited
American reviewer (the novel was published in New York
by Little, Brown last week) suffered similar excitement,
splurging: 'Mission will attract readers of Tom
Wolfe, the early Hunter Thompson, and readers of The Bible.
To "Which of the above does not fit the pattern?" any
reader will instantly reply: "Bible readers." Mission
is a very serious attempt to better understand the facts
of the life of The Man who is the central figure of the
New Testament, who he was, how he got there, and how his
message has been subtly and ever-so-slightly twisted over
nearly tow millennia. Read it and you will love it.'
(Michael Joseph, 2nd November, ?.95, ?.95
in trade soft-covers; Sphere will paperback it next year)
is by Patrick Tilley, who lives in a North Wales farmhouse,
and I am suitably impressed by his macabre talent for
tale-telling. Mission really is a remarkable novel.
facetious title for Mission would be I Am Back
and I Can Prove It, for it tells how Jesus Christ
is discovered by a worker in a hospital morgue. Seeing
the body of a male with dark hair and a beard, about 30
years old, with bad wounds in his hands and hear, and
side, she asks 'Doesn't he remind you of someone?' when
suddenly the body disappears off the slab.
happens then is mind-boggling. The narrator meets The
Man again on the New York streets and realised that through
a twist of time and fate he is, indeed, in company with
Christ on his second coming. The Man has not returned
to redeem mankind, but to explain what really happened
after the crucifixion, and what he thinks of today's world.
imagined, Mission can be read and understood by
all who know and respect the New Testament, or even by
those who know the Bible from desultory readings of one
of those editions place by the Gideons in hotel bedrooms.
October 24, 1981