by Martyn James Pummell

"'I don’t know. If it is true it’s about time, the old one has been gone for over 1900 years. It’s about time we had a new one.’"

In 1947, journalist Arthur Green is sent to India to investigate a boy, known as the Messiah, who is bringing back the dead. Green’s host, Jahmel, explains that as a young boy, the Messiah was attacked by a tiger, badly injured, and was never the same again. Green is introduced to the boy’s foster parents, Mr. and Mrs. Wilson, who call the boy “Frank.” Mr. Wilson explains that after Frank was killed and left unrecognizable, he brought his body back to the house and found another “Frank” waiting for them. This Frank claimed to be the son of God. Green watches Frank bring a child back to life—or did he? Green continues pursuing the truth and eventually uncovers it: Jahmel is the boy’s real father and had murdered Frank’s brother to set Frank up as the Messiah, all for the good of the Indian people who needed something hopeful to believe in while the British withdrew from rule. When Green returns to England, he tries to tell the truth, but it seems the legend of the Messiah might have become too big to stop.

Messiah is an interesting story about a journalist sent to India during the British withdrawal to investigate a young savior. The author does a good job creating a believable backdrop to his novel. His descriptions of hot and dusty India are palpable, and the long and exhausting trips Green endures are well-written with great detail. Green is a solid character, who is determined to uncover the truth about the mysterious boy who claims to be able to bring the dead back to life. In the end, Green learns that sometimes the truth is not always what people need. The author leaves his readers with much to contemplate about the power of hope.

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