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Grandson of Herod

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a novel of historical fiction by Joseph Raymond

Read a preview of Grandson of Herod.
This book is currently available for purchase through Amazon Kindle @ $2.99 US as an ebook and in paperback through Createspace and Amazon. The paperback list price is $13.99 US but here is a 25% discount code for purchase through Createspace XLKBQB5Q (note: discount code only good at Createspace, not valid at Amazon website).
Grandson of Herod is a work of historical fiction telling an alternative and controversial version of the life of Jesus. The premise is that Jesus was the grandson of both King Herod the Great and King Antigonus, the last Hasmonean king executed by Marc Antony in 37 BCE. The Hasmoneans were the Jewish royal dynasty that immediately preceded Herod. Five years of research went into building the factual underpinnings of the theory, published in 2010 as a work of non-fiction titled Herodian Messiah.

Grandson of Herod picks up the story during the civil war for Israel fought between Herod and Antigonus, itself a proxy war waged by the two great world superpowers of the day (Rome and Parthia). Two of Herod's three brothers die in this war but Jerusalem eventually falls to Herod who thereafter systematically exterminates the Hasmoneans, including members of his own family. The dust settles at the completion of these purges leaving Herod's eldest son Antipater as crown prince and coregent. Herod is of Idumean ancestry with Antipater his only Idumean son. But something goes terribly wrong in the waning days of Herod's long reign. Despite the fact that Antipater wields royal authority in the Jewish kingdom as coregent and his father is of failing health, Herod's sister (Princess Salome, the witch of Judea) spearheads allegations against Antipater for conspiracy to commit patricide. Despite its absurdity Herod buys off on the claims of his sister and brings Antipater up on charges before Governor Varus, Roman governor of Syria province. Also on trial with Antipater are his royal wife (Princess Mariamne) and his mother Doris. Princess Mariamne is the last living offspring of a Hasmonean king. For this reason Herod desperately wishes her dead. She is the future mother of Jesus, making him heir to the Hasmonean throne last held by his grandfather King Antigonus.

Antipater, the father of Jesus, is killed by Herod before Jesus is even born. Mariamne gives birth to Jesus the following summer in a cave while on the run from Herodian soldiers. It's a true miracle that mother and daughter survived. After a long period of exile in Parthia and Egypt, Jesus the Hasmonean prince returns to Israel as an anti-Roman Jewish nationalist embarking on a public campaign to reclaim his rightful throne that Herod usurped. Further, Jesus is a Jewish reform rabbi with influences from the Therapeutae sect of Egypt. His outer teachings are reflected in the New Testament but the novel also includes glimpses of an inner mystic message reserved for initiates found in apocryphal texts banned from the New Testament.

Jesus arrives at Jerusalem for Passover in 36 CE with 30,000 followers intent on revolution. However, Jesus realizes in the end that his movement lacks sufficient support among the Judeans to succeed. The Romans have legions on the march for Jerusalem when Jesus deputizes Judas to cut a deal with the chief priests to spar his followers from prosecution in return for Jesus' voluntary surrender at the Garden at Gethsemane. The story ends with Jesus in the tomb and the possibility that he still lives.

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