A mind-bending look into the magical world of the notorius Simon Magus
The Illusionist by Anita Mason is an intriguing fictional novel about a dark fringe figure of Simon Magus from the Acts of the Apostles and other early Christian source documents. Like most characters from that era, it is difficult to separate fact from fiction in the extant writings anyway.
While sticking with the reported details, which I verified from additional research, but avoiding the orthodox view that demonizes Magus for trying to buy Peter the Apostle’s power to bring down the Holy Spirit with the laying on of hands, Ms. Mason produced a intriguing novel that thrusts the reader directly into the Roman-Jewish world in the years immediately after the death of Jesus. She does not hawk a specific gospel or interpretation of events, a relief for a time and tale usually left to either devotees or debunkers of the Christian viewpoint.
A must-read for those interested in the character of Simon Magus, or early Christian history and the role that magic/sorcery might have played in it.