The Tongues of Men or Angels

After the crucifixion, Jesus’ followers, now led by his brother James the Just, remained devout Jews, vigorously opposed to the Roman occupiers. But a rival faction emerged, via the charismatic itinerant Paul of Tarsus. Some called him Saint and some a liar. But Paul began telling those stories which would transform a small sect of Judaism into a world religion. Unsealing a tale that has been waiting through long ages, Jonathan Trigell shows the night sky of Biblical-era Israel lit, not by guiding stars, but by flames of terror. He shows men of flesh and of blood; by turns loving and brutal. The Tongues of Men or Angels is a dazzling act of imagination and learning. It is a literary resurrection.

“Trigell’s version is ingenious and riveting. He is brilliant in his recreation of the visceral baseness of being human; this is a Judea mired in dung and blood and superstition.” (The Times)

“Trigell’s greatest achievement: he has created a Saul/Paul (with back-story, complexity, real psychological depth) who might actually have written the epistles — welding that extraordinary mixture of commitment, self-righteousness, touchy insecurity, surprising moments of sweetness, and mystical passion into a single coherent character.” (Church Times)

“a committed attempt to compare the harsh reality of Jesus’s life with the embroidered versions that spread following his death… This is a story that invents in order to see through invention.” (The Independent on Sunday)

“an ingeniously structured, lively narrative of the birth of Christianity.” (The Sunday Times)