They went across the lake to the region of the Gerasenes. When Jesus got out of the boat, a man with an evil spirit came from the tombs to meet him. This man lived in the tombs, and no one could bind him any more, not even with a chain. For he had often been chained hand and foot, but he tore the chains apart and broke the irons on his feet. No one was strong enough to subdue him. Night and day among the tombs and in the hills he would cry out and cut himself with stones.
When he saw Jesus from a distance, he ran and fell on his knees in front of him. He shouted at the top of his voice, “What do you want with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? Swear to God that you won’t torture me!” For Jesus had said to him, “Come out of this man, you evil spirit!”
Then Jesus asked him, “What is your name?”
“My name is Legion,” he replied, “for we are many. ” And he begged Jesus again and again not to send them out of the area.
A large herd of pigs was feeding on the nearby hillside. The demons begged Jesus, “Send us among the pigs; allow us to go into them.” He gave them permission, and the evil spirits came out and went into the pigs. The herd, about two thousand in number, rushed down the steep bank into the lake and were drowned.
Those tending the pigs ran off and reported this in the town and countryside, and the people went out to see what had happened. When they came to Jesus, they saw the man who had been possessed by the legion of demons, sitting there, dressed and in his right mind; and they were afraid. Those who had seen it told the people what had happened to the demon-possessed man–and told about the pigs as well. Then the people began to plead with Jesus to leave their region.
As Jesus was getting into the boat, the man who had been demon-possessed begged to go with him. Jesus did not let him, but said, “Go home to your family and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you.” So the man went away and began to tell in the Decapolis how much Jesus had done for him. And all the people were amazed.
—Mark 5:1-20, NIV
Based upon this passage, Tracy Greet weaves the compelling tale of Tallis, a Greek philosopher’s servant, who is sent to an academy in Palestine only to find that the school has disappeared under strange circumstances. As he searches to find out what happened, he uncovers one mystery after another including what happened to the teachers: one was murdered; one committed suicide; one now is a leader in the temple of Dionysus; and the most promising scholar has become a madman.
Tallis faces his own worst fears as the gory nightmare of his childhood comes back to haunt him as he seeks to help the madman who sits among the tombs with his back to the sea. Forces of evil call out to him as the fortunes of everyone involved seem to slide hopelessly towards a horrible conclusion.
Groot takes the story of the Gerasene demoniac and brings it to life, fleshing out the story of a man who inadvertently opened himself up to evil, the story of his family and friends, and the story of Tallis, who faced the same evil in his childhood only to find it here 100-fold in Palestine. And although the Man from Across the Sea only appears briefly near the end of the book, his appearance changes everything… as it always does.
While this is a work of fiction, Groot holds true to the passages which inspire the book. It is well worth a read and will make the story of the Gerasene demoniac much more meaningful for the reader.
Releases April 1, 2006
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