Saturday, November 30, 2019

Review: "The End of the Magi" by Patrick W. Carr

As we approach Christmas, we often think of Jesus' birth, of Mary and Joseph, of the angels, and even of the shepherds. But what of the magi? I admit I don't often think of them—except to insist that the wise men in my nativity set must remain separate from the rest because they didn't show up until Jesus was a toddler.

Patrick W. Carr's The End of the Magi shines a fictional light on these mysterious men and helps the reader see the Christmas story in a new way.

Centuries before the magi arrived in Bethlehem,
a prophecy sets a young magus on his path . . .

Following his vision of the coming Messiah, the prophet Daniel calls forth a select group of men who will count down the calendar until the arrival of Israel's promised king. Centuries later, as the day draws near, Myrad, a young magi acolyte, flees for his life when his adoptive father and others are slain by a ruthless Parthian queen.

Equipped with very little, in haste Myrad escapes the city and, searching for a way to hide from the soldiers scouring the trade routes, tries to join the caravan of the merchant Walagash. The merchant senses that Myrad is keeping secrets, but when the young man proves himself a valuable asset, an epic journey filled with peril, near captures, and dangerous battles begins.

With every day that passes, the calendar creeps closer to the coming Messiah. And over everything shines the dream of a star that Myrad can't forget, and the promise that the world will never be the same.

The End of the Magi gives a look at what the magi may have been like through the story of Myrad, a young magi acolyte who flees Ctesiphon when his adoptive father and other magi are slaughtered. Myrad's journey is at first solely about survival, but he can't forget the dream both he and his father had about a new star. He eventually meets up with other magi, and together they follow the star.

Most of The End of the Magi leads up to Myrad and the other magi meeting Mary, Joseph, and Jesus, and their journey reads like an adventure story. I did get bogged down in the details and names a bit, and I found myself wishing they would just get to Herod—to the part of the story that I knew was coming! I was pleasantly surprised to discover that the story continued far beyond the presentation of gifts to Jesus; it was nice to see how Myrad's journey continued on from that point. Also, I enjoyed learning about the magi; I truly knew nothing about them except they were "wise men from the East."

All in all, this is an interesting and well-written novel, and it's one that's incredibly appropriate for the Christmas season. 3-1/2 stars.

Read an excerpt.
Buy the book. (affiliate link)

Patrick W. Carr ( is the author of the acclaimed fantasy series The Staff and the Sword. A Cast of Stones won the 2014 Carol Award for Speculative Fiction and the 2014 Clive Staples Award. A Cast of Stones and The Hero's Lot were both finalists for 2014 Christy Awards. He teaches high school math and makes his home in Nashville, Tennessee, with his incredible wife, Mary, and their four sons.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free for review from Bethany House Publishers. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Also, some of the links in this post are affiliate links. This means if you click a link and make a purchase, I will receive a small commission. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

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