Magdalene.org Book Review
by Minerva Waters
The Galileans, by Frank G. Slaughter (Larrolds Publishers LTD, 1954)
This novel is told to follow the life of Joseph, aspiring physician
and currently a lowly leech who happens to also be the nephew of
Joseph of Arimathea.
As Joseph is out practicing his leech-craft one day, he stops to
listen to some street-musicians. He becomes entranced by their
accompanying dancer, Mary, the half-Greek/half-Jewish adopted
daughter of a Roman citizen. While she is dancing, she is striken
with a fainting fit, and Joseph attends to her and accompanies
her home. With the consent of her adopted father, they meet often
afterwards and become betrothed.
In the intervening time, Mary's fame as a dancer has spread and
she is summoned to dance for the nephew of Pontius Pilate, Gaius
Flaccus. When she arrives with her troupe, she discovers exactly
what type of dance is expected when one of the regular dancers
comes into the waiting room, completely nude, to freshen herself.
Mary decides, however, to perform her planned dance. Gaius is very
taken with her performance and invites her to dine with him. During
the meal, she has another fainting fit and becomes unconscious,
during which period Gaius rapes her. When Joseph learns of this,
he bribes his way into the mansion and rescues her. A few weeks
after she recovers, she finds herself to be pregant and attempts
to cast the child forth, which she does, but at great cost to her
health. Joseph nurses her back to health, but while he is out one
day, Mary, her adopted father, and troupe of musicians leave the
Many years later, Joseph finally travels to Alexandria to study
medicine and become a full physician. Knowing that Mary always
wanted to dance in Alexandria, he unsuccessfully inquires about
her. Just by chance, he attends the theatre one night, only to
discover that Flamen, the lead dancer, is none other than Mary.
Contriving to speak with her, he finds that she lives for nothing
but vengence on Gaius, who is soon to come to Alexandria.
When Gaius arrives, she arrives for him to have the part of Dionysis
in the spring dances, plotting to kill him during the performance.
However, when the time comes, she does nothing more than wound him,
but, enraged, he demands her death. Joseph once again manages to
rescue her, but when Gaius demands he be imprisoned for interferring,
Mary trades herself into slavery to Gaius in exchange for Joseph's
In due time, heartsick Joseph returns to Jerusalem and takes up his
practice when he hears from his uncle of a new preacher and healer
who has come to town. He goes to investigate and finds among the
preacher's followers none other than Mary, who tells him that she
has forgiven Gaius for his actions. After a period of time, the
preacher is crucified and Gaius dies of natural causes. Mary and
Joseph are finally free to be together.
This is fairly good novel until the end when it 'fades off into the
sunset' with all the ends tied up and the happy couple finally
joined. I guess the moral of the novel is that good things come to
those who wait.