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These three novellas from the acclaimed German writer Gertrud von le Fort, newly translated for the first time into English for this volume, are from her later works of historical fiction, in which she displays her mastery as a dramatist of ideas.
The Wife of Pilate imagines the slow, arduous transformation of an aristocratic woman, who is mentioned in the New Testament, from a pagan into a Christian saint, as she is now honored in the Byzantine Church.
Plus Ultra takes us into the high politics of early 16th century Europe, and into the soul of a lonely young lady at court who knows she has attracted the intoxicating but dangerous attention of the Emperor Charles V himself.
At the Gate of Heaven takes the clash between astronomical discoveries and the Roman Inquisition trial of Galileo as the backdrop for harrowing reflections about manಙs place in the cosmos.
In these novellas von le Fort vividly recreates scenes from distant places in bygone eras. Even more memorable are her lyrical portrayals of conflicts in the souls and minds of powerful people. These are thought-provoking stories by a keen observer of humanity.
"A book to be treasured. The times and places are beautifully and accurately evoked, and the stories are gripping to read."
- Lucy Beckett, Author, Postcard from the Volcano
"von le Fort's serene and probing intellect examines with absolute honesty the dilemmas of our human striving for authentic faith and love during times of peril and confusion. There is clear light here, a profound, though unsentimental, confidence in the triumph of Christ as Lord of History."
- Michael O'Brien, Author, Father Elijah: An Apocalypse
"von le Fort offers rich historical fiction and deeply spiritual reflections in stories that remain relevant to this day. At the Gate of Heaven is a particularly prophetic tale this age would do well to ponder."
- Michael Richard, Author, Tobit's Dog
"Gertrud von le Fort masters the challenge of bringing to life relatable characters as well as conveying the outlook of bygone eras."
- Roger Thomas, Author, The Accidental Marriage