Welcome to my home on the web! I’m excited to introduce you to my first novel, The Galilean Secret. It’s a story about the complexities and dilemmas of love—and about the inner healing that turns heartbreak to hope. It’s also about the power of politics and religion, and about brave people standing up to this power when it becomes corrupt and brutal. Most of all, The Galilean Secret is about the spiritual path that leads both individuals and societies toward peace.
The story follows two timelines—one in the first century, the other in the present. I have long been fascinated by Roman-occupied Jerusalem during the reign of Pontius Pilate. Pilgrims from afar crowding the narrow streets. Pharisees debating in the Temple courts. Jewish patriots clashing with Roman soldiers. There could be no richer setting for an epic love story—a story that contains practical wisdom for our lives and relationships today.
Visiting the Holy Land was a highlight of my research. As I gazed down on Jerusalem from the Mount of Olives, my mind conjured up images of families carrying their sacrifices through the ancient gates, of merchants haggling in the marketplace, of Jesus and his disciples trudging from the upper room to Gethsemane by torchlight.
The heroine of the novel’s historical plot, Judith of Jerusalem, is surrounded by the city’s sacred memories and traditions as she agonizes over her passion for the older brother of the man to whom she is betrothed. We also meet biblical characters—Nicodemus, Barabbas, the twelve disciples, Mary Magdalene, and others.
I even took the risk of portraying Jesus of Nazareth as a major character. Although this approach may be controversial for some readers, I believe that the benefits outweigh the liabilities. The deeper we go into the spiritual work of relating to Jesus, the more we will understand the Galilean secret of love. Not only will this secret reveal the wonder of our creation in God’s image, but it will also give us resources to use in dating, friendships, and marriage. Respectful, imaginative storytelling is a way to gain new insight into the limitless spiritual dimensions of this man for all times and all peoples.
In order to bring those dimensions into today, the novel also has a plotline in the present. Twelve miles east of Jerusalem lie the Dead Sea and the caves of Qumran. Standing at the base of the craggy desert cliffs of that region, I imagined the hero of the contemporary plot, Karim Musalaha, scrambling into a cave as he flees for his life. A Palestinian on the run, he finds an ancient scroll that draws him inexorably to an Israeli woman he is forbidden to love. Together they embark on a perilous quest to learn who wrote the scroll’s message—a message so radical, so revolutionary that it will prove deadly, offer the seeds for hope—or both.
Separated by twenty centuries and by their different cultures and religions, Karim Musalaha and Judith of Jerusalem are bound together not only by the scroll but also by the same aspiration—to find lasting love on the spiritual path toward peace. I hope that their aspiration will resonate as powerfully with you as it does with me.
I wrote this book for anyone who has ever had a broken heart, anyone who has tried to love but faltered in the attempt, anyone who needs the inspiration to try again and the courage to work for peace in the darkest times. I hope that reading the novel will open your heart to grace, and that grace will bring healing, depth, and growth to your closest relationships.
My journey with The Galilean Secret began with my own experiences of grace and my desire to share them. It took me thirteen years to see this book into print, seven of them spent writing a first, unpublished novel. But from a spiritual perspective, I have been working on The Galilean Secret all my life and will never be finished with it. Thank you for sharing the journey with me. May we walk together toward the fulfillment of our dreams of love.
The Galilean Secret
“The Galilean Secret is the book The Da Vinci Code wanted to be, but fell well short of. Thought provoking and riveting, Howard’s ground-breaking tale of truth and treachery will stay with you long after the final page is turned and leave you waiting breathlessly for his next effort.”– Jon Land, author of The Seven Sins and Strong Enough to Die
Read Chapter One:
Read Chapter One of The Galilean Secret here: theGalileanSecret.com
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