By Marianne Fredriksson

Cornelia, filled with rage and hatred for her husband Salvius and fearful of the “red minutes” of insanity that run in her family, is pregnant with their son, Marcus, the much longed-for grandson to Cornelius Scipio. At the same time, their Ionian slave Seleme is pregnant by the adulterous Salvius, who also has a taste for boys. The two half-brothers are born around the same time and brought up together. The slave boy is bright and lively and Marcus quiet and withdrawn, remaining in his shadow. When Seleme disappears, Marcus loses his only security and goes blind as he cannot face the reality of what has happened. Anialis, the Chaldaeam wise man, accepts the task of restoring life and sight to young Marcus. He is a philosopher and mathematician, a Magus, and in the course of the revival of Marcus, the reader is guided through the events of the time, the thought processes of the Greeks, the cruelties and intrigues of Rome, the savagery of city life, the fates of the Patrician families, the rise of the new religion stemming from the birth of a child in Bethlehem. On his journeys he learns not only of the peoples and customs, but also of landscapes so very different from his own native deserts. Marcus is cured and becomes a great artist and in their search for love and truth, they are confronted with the grimness and dramatic events of the day, not least the appearance of the disturbing prophet, an ignorant Jew, and his followers.

First published by Wahlström & Widstrand, 1988
413 pages

Sweden, Wahlström & Widstrand
Sweden, Earbooks (audio book)
Sweden, Piratförlaget (e-book)
Denmark, Forlaget Fremad
Denmark, DBC Medier (audio book)
Norway, Damm & Son
Finland, Otava
Germany, S. Fischer/Krüger Verlag
The Netherlands, De Geus
Estonia, Hotger
The Czech Republic, Mlada Fronta
Slovakia, Slovart