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Sent on Mormon-News: 22Nov00

By Deseret Book Press Release

Fishers of Men

SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH -- Gerald N. Lund, whose bestselling historical fiction series "The Work and the Glory" has sold nearly 3 million copies, introduces a new series of historical fiction. "The Kingdom and the Crown" series begins with "Fishers of Men" (Shadow Mountain, $25.95), when a carpenter from Nazareth is being talked about as the Great Deliverer.

Like a much-loved movie you see over and over, knowing the ending but finding new things to revel over each time you watch it, this story is both familiar and vibrantly new. We meet Jesus through the eyes and views of three families, who have heard about him -- with curiosity and some skepticism -- and then come to know him.

Following the households in their daily lives, we learn about lifestyles, customs, religious practices, clothing, foods, and betrothal and marriage customs (including the tradition of lifting the bride's veil and the fact that the first prenuptial agreements date back to at least 400 years before Christ). This was a time in which the Jewish nation was divided and subdivided into groups that viewed each other with considerable suspicion if not open contempt. Dramatically different cultures were living together. Slavery was a common social institution.

The story begins in the fall of A.D. 29. There is a great commotion as word spreads about a man called John the Baptist, who is saying that the long-promised Messiah has finally come. Lund provides chapter notes detailing the historic background of the developing story and referring to scriptures, the writing of early rabbinical sources, contemporary historians such as Philo and Flavius Josephus, and extensive archaeological excavations. He points out that the four gospels do not contain any description of either Jesus or his disciples, nor the ages for anyone except Jesus who was thirty when he began his ministry. Care was taken to keep the characters of real people consistent with what is known about them from scriptural record.

In this first book in the series, the disciples are called. Andrew and Peter. James and John. Phillip. Nathanael. Bartholomew. James the son of Alphaeus. Simon. Observing those gathering around Jesus, one of the book's characters comments: "Every one different from the other. He's called fishermen. He's called Zealot. Now he's called a publican. Each of these men have now been called to follow Jesus and become fishers of men."

These are the days of the changing of water into wine at a wedding feast; the healing of leprosy and palsy; blind men seeing; the sermon on the mount; the feeding of 5,000. These are the days of miracles. Crowds are now following Jesus, and the realization is dawning that "Jesus works these great miracles because he is the Messiah. He is not the Messiah because he works miracles."

"Fishers of Men" concludes a few months later with a conversation between Simeon, the lead character, and Jesus on the seashore. Subsequent volumes will continue the story through the crucifixion and resurrection, and the ministry of the apostles that followed.

# # #

About the author: Gerald N. Lund earned degrees in sociology before pursuing postgraduate studies in Hebrew and the New Testament. He recently retired from a thirty-four year career in religious education in order to focus more fully on his writing. He is the author of "Fire of the Covenant" and "The Work and the Glory" series, which has sold nearly 3 million copies.


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Fishers of Men
More about Gerald N. Lund's "Kingdom and the Crown Volume 1: Fishers of Men" at

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