Magdalene is a fictionalized account of the life of Mary Magdalene, a close follower of Jesus of Nazareth, told from the viewpoints of Mary and Atticus, a fictional Roman soldier. After building backgrounds for both characters, the story becomes a summary of the public life of Jesus beginning with some of his miracles, proceeding to his crucifixion and resurrection and then to the fate of many early Christians at the hands of the Romans. While the parts dealing with Jesus’s public life are based on the accounts in the Gospels, they are paraphrased and emphasize the reactions of his followers and the Roman soldier.
This story’s retelling as modern fiction, as seen from the viewpoints of Mary and Atticus, makes this book a pleasant and engaging read. It is not always clear what is purely fiction – the details given about Mary Magdalene go beyond those included in the Gospels, and it is not clear what support there is for them – but that is the nature of historical fiction. Some of this is covered in an author interview as well as in several pages of references provided at the end of the novel.