My fictional character Theophilos is a Greek physician, like his adopted son Loukas, and he is a man formed by the best of the classical pagan age. He is intelligent, educated, cultured, gifted, humanitarian—and proud. The novel is the story of a literal voyage as he seeks to rescue Loukas from the “cult of the Christos”, and Theophilos’s deeper voyage into the core of his unbelief, which hides his unacknowledged despair. In this sense he is very much a modern man.
Publisher’s Press release
St. Luke addressed his Gospel and the Acts of the Apostles to a man named Theophilos.
Who was Theophilos? Scripture scholars do not know, making him a fit subject for Michael O’Brien’s vivid imagination. In this fictional narrative, Theophilos is the skeptical but beloved adoptive father of St. Luke. Challenged by the startling account of the “Christos” received in the chronicle from his beloved son Luke and concerned for the newly zealous young man’s fate, Theophilos, a Greek physician and an agnostic, embarks on a search for Luke to bring him home. He is gravely concerned about the deadly illusions Luke has succumbed to regarding the incredible stories surrounding Jesus of Nazareth, a man of contradictions who has caused so much controversy throughout the Roman Empire.
Thus begins a long journey that will take Theophilos deep into the war between nations and empires, truth and myth, good and evil, and into unexpected dimensions of his very self. His quest takes the reader into four ancient civilizations—the Greek, Roman, Jewish, and that of Christianity at its birth, where he meets those who knew this man that some believe is the Messiah.