You might say I have started this blog with a very big question! Well, my next thriller, According to Luke, which will be released by my publishers rather soon, presents this question in a subtle way. Today, I'm going to think about the part of the New Testament that deals with the arrival and sojourn of St Paul and St Luke in Malta.
The Acts of the Apostles, believed to have been largely written by Luke, start Paul's voyage to Rome from Adramyttium at 27:1, in about 60AD. In these verses it describes the tempest encountered after passing Cyprus, how the sailors jettisoned a cargo of wheat and four anchors, and how Paul consoled and encouraged the men on board - 276 they were in all. He urged them to pray, and to eat, telling them none would be lost because he had experienced a vision in which he was told they would all be saved.
Paul and Luke's stay on Malta was eventful, and there are many legends and myths about this period in the history of the islands. Luke went on to Rome and stayed with Paul during his imprisonment and trial.
Why is it important that Luke visited Malta? Well - a number of St Luke paintings around the world are attributed to St Luke. He is the patron saint of painters (and also of doctors) because of the legends that tie the name of this disciple to miraculous images of Mary. These are mentioned in According to Luke. There is one of these paintings in Malta: Our Lady of Damascus, which can be viewed in an ancient Greek church in the capital, Valletta.
Picture courtesy latinmasses.ca
Icons of this kind figure largely in my new book. Researching this aspect of the inclusions for the novel was one of the most interesting things I had to do to complete the book exactly as I had envisaged while nutting out the plot.
Why not visit my website and read more about the facts I have included in the novel? It will fill you in while the book is being produced, and you can be among the first to get it when it comes out.