‘Peter, you spent over twenty years of your life in the desert?’ says Rosemary.
‘I did, yes.’
‘So what was it… well, what was it like?’
And, in a way, this book is his answer.
In the first of the acclaimed Abbot Peter mysteries – a prequel to his Stormhaven adventures – Peter takes us back to the monastery of St James-the-Less. It’s a fragile community in the hot sands of Middle Egypt, peopled by those with nowhere else to take their creaking lives. And there in the shadows of Mt Sinai, Peter faces a discomforting cocktail of deception, delusion and death.
The monastery is already threatened with closure, due to rationalisation. But when a harsh and unpredictable maniac comes to call, peoples’ very lives are under threat.
Suddenly, ordered religious practice is disordered, leaving no one unaffected. As events come to a traumatic climax, all have to question their beliefs and make decisions about their lives… including Abbot Peter.
‘It was interesting,’ replies the abbot to Rosemary. ‘A slightly bloody retreat.’
‘I think the book should be banned before it does the image of religion some serious damage.’ Ian Hislop, Private Eye, Have I Got News for You
‘Genuinely funny, tenderly serious – a delightful small novel.’ Sara Maitland, author of A Book of Silence
‘If you’re after a surprising, disturbing, profound, witty, magical mystery tour, then this book is for you.’ Simon Mayo, radio presenter, author