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The Secret Magdalene  By  cover art

The Secret Magdalene

By: Ki Longfellow
Narrated by: Bernadette Dunne
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Publisher's Summary

Raised like sisters, Mariamne and Salome are indulged with riches, position, and learning - a rare thing for females in Jerusalem. But Mariamne has a further gift: an illness has left her with visions; she has the power of prophecy. It is her prophesying that drives the two girls to flee to Egypt, where they study philosophy, mathematics, and astronomy in the Great Library of Alexandria. 

After seven years they return to a Judaea where many now believe John the Baptizer is the messiah. Salome too begins to believe, but Mariamne, now called Magdalene, is drawn to his cousin, Yeshu’a, a man touched by the divine in the same way she was during her days of illness. Together they speak of sharing their direct experience of God; but Yeshu’a unexpectedly gains a reputation as a healer, and as the ill and the troubled flock to him, he and Magdalene are forced to make a terrible decision. 

This radical retelling of the greatest story ever told brings Mary Magdalene to life - not as a prostitute or demon-possessed - but as an educated woman who was truly the “apostle to the apostles.” 

©2007 Ki Longfellow (P)2007 Books on Tape

Critic Reviews

“Highly original and highly engaging, The Secret Magdalene is a sweeping yet intimate tale, an emotional and intellectual journey that questions everything, including the real nature of Jesus.” (India Edghill, author of Wisdom’s Daughter)

"Imaginative, well-researched, and full of profound wisdom, this wonderful novel brings the ancient world to life." (Timothy Freke, co-author of The Laughing Jesus

"A beautiful book....the writing [is] compelling." (Elaine Pagels, Professor of Religion at Princeton University and author of The Gnostic Gospels

What listeners say about The Secret Magdalene

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Captivating & Thought-Provoking

This is one of the best audiobooks I have ever had the pleasure to listen to. The characters seemed very real and the historical setting was extremely well-researched. Even though it's fiction - it has a truthfulness to it that allows for the suspension of disbelief.

I don't take it as an attack on the Christian religion - but then, I'm not religious. The philosophy, central to this book, that God is inside each of us & works through us doesn't seem (to me, at least) to be inconsistent with the teachings of Jesus.

So give this book a try. At the very least, it will make you think.

14 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

It's a novel, albeit, a good novel.

The reader has to remember this book is a novel, albeit, a good novel. At first I thought this book would/should become as popular as Dan Brown's Da Vinci Code, but knowledge of the historical Jesus may be needed to enjoy it to its fullest. Ms. Longfellow weaves the historical Jesus, the mythological Jesus and the theological Jesus into a very compelling novel through the eyes of Mariamne, Mary of Magdalene. Ms. Longfellow uses all the tools available; the apocrypha, the canon, and scholarly writings. This reader marveled and wondered at how the author got from one supposedly known Jesus adventure to the next. Without divulging the ending I have to make the following comment - the reasoning comprising the ending sequence probably wasn't conspired by the person she indicates as most scholars feel if this conspiracy came into play, it was devised after Jesus' crucifixion. Also, I was always looking for Ms. Longfellow to incorporate the Secret Gospel of Mark into the novel. It would have been a natural with Mariamne already posing as a boy. This reader enjoyed the book immensely. This book is not for the fundamentalist.

9 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

Lovely story, great characters.

I loved the risks the author took with this story. She was really willing to give up preconceptions and step inside her characters and tell it like she saw it. The result is a lovely novel that I found compelling from beginning to end. Each character is fully fleshed out ... and I can almost believe this is all Truth. I read for a living, and when I read something in my "free" time, it better be good. I found myself setting aside extra time to listen to this book.

8 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars

Just Bad

If you are a Christian, please don't waste your money on this. The story uses just about every theory of how Christ fooled everyone into thinking he was the Messiah. The narrative is at times very hard to follow. In my humble opinion it is not very well written fiction but it is complete fiction if you believe the Bible to be true.

7 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars

I finished this book in 3 days!

Even though I knew how it goes 😉 I was fascinated
great book
performance is very good
and the story is magnetic

1 person found this helpful

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I Felt Like I Was There

I read this hard copy first. There is so much to take in that I ordered this copy to listen another time. Now I'm on my second listen! I have told so many people that are interested in any way in the Gnostic Gospels or any gospels for that matter to get into this great book! It is told through the experience of two sisters who at first dress like boys in order to be taught by a great sage. Then the story unfolds into a well developed tale that takes one right to the place where the greatest story ever told originated. We recently drove through Utah experiencing the incredible rock formations with caves naturally formed everywhere. I found myself in a fantasy world of a very ancient time and would have never had this experience if it weren't for this great story.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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What We Have Always Suspected

Best book on the Mary from Magdala I''ve read so far-- by a lot! This is my 2nd reading, after it came out about 10 years ago. Other books on this one of the "3 Mary's" seem to fizzle at the end,unable to cope with the Jesshua's death.
NOT a prostitute,but rather beloved daughter of Josephus, a very wealthy member of the Sanhedrin, with access to the high Jewish council members and even Rome's representative local ruler, Pontius Pilate, Mary (Miriamne in the Aramaic and Egyptian) was
one if the followers who helped underwrite Jesshua's teaching mission among his own people. She was highly educated, spoke Greek (all educated people of the time did), Egyptian,
Thracian and Persian. Was educated in Alexandria, Egypt, at the great library by philosophers and mathematicians. Learned in both philosophical enquiry at home, and by education, she also was adept with the use of plant medicines, taught by her Egyptian maid and constant companion. The background explanations of the family relationships of a great many of the people who Jesshua helped,
from the "Mary and Martha" story, to the
story of Lazarus, ring true, and are backed by extensive scholarship. I highly recommend this book. Thrilling and satisfying at the same time.

1 person found this helpful

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Great and Thought Provoking

This is a great story period. Before you even get into the subtext and more thought provoking parts. Just an overall interesting and thoughtful story.

1 person found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Mary Magdalene

A well researched, superbly written and thought-provoking fictional portrayal of the lifes and times of Mary Magdalene and Yeshua/Jesus.
In THE SECRET MAGDALENE, Mary Magdalene steps out of the shadows and onto center stage. Through the fictional voice of Mariamne, Mary Magdalene is elevated to a position of prominence as a disciple and the beloved companion of Jesus Christ. A well researched, superbly written and thought-provoking fictional portrayal of the lifes and times of Mary Magdalene and Yeshua/Jesus. This imaginative novel will undoubtedly attract a lot of attention and foster discussion about one of the most controversial and fascinating women in early Church history

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misleading

I was so excited to learn more about Mary Magdalena, she has a big place in my heart, her true devotion to our lord Jesus Christ, spreading to good news and word of God ,the truth,one of our lords greatest disciples, she was with him and by his side always,at the cross, and when he was risen,she is amazing. but, this book is sadly mistaken, misleading, alot of pagan talk,false gods,and goddesses is spoken about, it goes on and on and on, and when she finally mentions anything about our savior, it's almost impossible to understand, confusing, mixed up,hard to follow, I regret purchasing this book.. and very sad as well

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Michelle Karen
  • 03-16-13

One of the best illustrations of Gnosis

I have listened to this book for the fifith time now and it informs me over and over. Ki creates the Roman Palistine world wonderfully and give a plusable and realistic idea of what the life of Jesus and his followers might have been like. She draws the attatudes and changes that would have exhisted and they would have challenged a teacher who saw things differently. How fanaticism and misunderstanding can alter an inderfiduals view and truth can be lost. This is fiction but drawn on a wealth of deeply reaserched knowledge. This book has help me to understand religon and the ideas around Gnosis like no other. Thank Ki Longfellow

2 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • SpiritandTravel KristinaDay
  • 06-02-17

Truly extraordinary

I could not put this down (or turn it off!). A truly extraordinary account of *his*tory and the life of Mary Madeleine. A story of the spirit, of politics, and of love. Deeply moving, insightful, and inspired.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Diane S
  • 03-25-16

compelling

What is truth? look within. Oh what webs they weave when men in power practice to deceive

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  • EnglishDave
  • 05-29-20

Just brilliant.

The style, the imagination, the reimagining of a story with so many alternate versions already. The reader should have an interest in biblical history but probably not a conventional religious interest.