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Magdalen Rising: The Beginning (Maeve Chronicles)

4.22 of 5 stars 4.22  ·  rating details  ·  476 ratings  ·  63 reviews
Young Magdalen and Jesus, brimming with youthful charm and arrogance, find each other and fall in love, forging a bond that is stronger than death. Their pleasure is overshadowed by a brilliant but unbalanced druid who knows a perilous secret about Maeve’s past. The prequel to The Passion of Mary Magdalen.
Hardcover, 384 pages
Published April 1st 2007 by Monkfish Book Publishing (first published April 1st 2000)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,469)
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Lia
Two and a half. But it won't let us gives halves.

Overall: The book didn't work for me. In specific: there are some well-articulated moments (see below).

I think maybe my hopes were too high for this book. I was hoping for a book that really put a female-male balanced spiritual world-view. But instead, I got a strong dose of humanist feminism (beating men at their own game) scrubbed over with a sort of New Age/Celtic goddess magic-and-powers idea. As I read, what I kept hoping for was that the yo
...more
Grace
Jul 08, 2007 Grace rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Pagans, Seekers
Elizabeth Cunningham's book (originally sold under the title _Daughter of the Shining Isles_) tells the story of a woman raised by goddesses on a holy island. She goes to the druids to learn their ways, and there meets a man with whom she falls in love. Little does she know that this man would someday be known as Jesus Christ. This book is a fascinating discussion of paganism and Christianity, and explores the idea of what the "lost years" of Christ might have entailed. Definitely not for the cl ...more
G (galen)
So just what was Jesus doing between the ages of 12 and 30? The time in which the bible is silent about his life has been speculated upon by many, and in this book Elizabeth Cunningham delightfully gives us her two cents.

We have the narration straight from the mouth of Mary Magdalen, but she is not called that yet; no she will not get that name until she travels to the Holy Land. Here her name is Maeve, young daughter of eight warrior witches, Celtic priestess in-training, a precocious fiery re
...more
Peni Renner
I love historical fiction and when I realized the identity of a certain child, I thought, OMG, what an interesting twist THAT makes!!! Loved it!
Katherine
These novels by Elizabeth Cunningham are a great delight - bringing a celtic, feminine side to Christianity, if only it were really so... I have always had a strong connection to high fantasy and celtic culture and these are steeped in the best tradition and very well and entertainingly written. The fact that Cunningham comes from a long line of Episcopal ministers makes them even more interesting. These books are like a secret delight - you know the are not great literature with a Capital L but ...more
Lee Ann
This is the third time in less than six months that I have read this book, and I love it more every time I read it. Cunningham crafted such a wonderful cast of characters. The dynamics between Maeve, Branwen, and Viviane are awesome. It's fresh to see two girls (that is, Maeve and Viviane) who are supposed to be "enemies" grow to love each other almost as sisters. Girls helping girls is such a better trope than girls being catty to each other. It's one of the many great feminist lessons this boo ...more
Jean
A beautiful and fanciful retelling of the story of Jesus and Mary Magdalen, when they were teenagers training in Celtic lands to become bards. He was called Esus, and she was Maeve. Maeve was brought up on a magical Isle with 8 Mothers, who told her that her Father was a God. The Irish worship Nature and all its glory. Esus is confused about Celtic custom and lore, but there are many missing years of his life that have not been commented on in the Bible. It is thought he traveled all over Europe ...more
Jeanne
What an incredible book. Made me think, made me chuckle, made me nod my head up and down to the point of headache.
Julie
Oct 17, 2008 Julie rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: women everywhere
Recommended to Julie by: faerian
Great book. I love the Maeve character and can't wait to read the next book in the series to follow her adventures.
Michele
interesting to think of mary magdalen/jesus in this way. in NO WAY a Christian book... more pagan than anything else.
Tamam
Just as good as The Passion Of Mary Magdalen. Cunningham can really tell a story!
Tina Glenn
Judging a book by its cover.
I did it and I’m sad.

For years I’ve been wanting to purchase a series of books … well the first one and then I realized that there is a series and it made me want them even more. I’m a historical fiction nerd … not the bodice rippers per se (except the Diana Gabaldon series of Outlander). I really love reading fiction based in paleolithic, neolithic, early britain, gaul, etc … etc. Currently I’m on a Saxon/Nordic binge.

So, this series began because I saw the coolest
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Lee Ann
Wow. Wow wow wow. Okay. So I got this book randomly out of the library because I was like, "Oh, Mary Magdalen, my favorite Biblical figure," and, "WHOA and a ton of Celtic folklore?! My favorite!" Little did I know that this book was 1. SUPER feminist, 2. beautifully written, and 3. really captivating. And now... it's the topic of my thesis paper!

I don't even know where to start in my review, I'm still so dumbfounded over the book. I mean, might as well start at the beginning right?

The first thi
...more
Pam Brown
I'm disappointed that it's not even meant to be a serious attempt at historical fiction, but I like the author's writing style, and she tells a good story. As long as I know not to entertain even a bit of trust, it's good brain candy. I also enjoyed the Dexter books that were the source for the character in the "Dexter" TV show. The Dexter information was more reliable than the Magdalene information, but it's fun. The reliability of the Magdalene series is somewhere between "Da Vinci Code" and " ...more
Vanessa
I wanted to like this book so much more than I did, especially as I really enjoyed The Passion of Mary Magdalen, which this book is the prequel to. I guess I didn't find Maeve's earlier years as interesting as I did her time as a slave in Rome and then in the Holy Land, and I was also expecting more of Esus in it, since she tells their love story so brilliantly to the other whores in The Passion of Mary Magdalen. Then again, knowing how Maeve feels about "truth" and "good storytelling", I guess ...more
Laura
The whole Maeve Chronicles series is superlative, highly recommended, one of my favorites. I would recommend it for fans of strong women, Celtic fantasy, Biblical reinterpretation, myth and magic, Goddess fiction, the Mists of Avalon. In a nutshell, Mary Magdalen is re-visioned as a Celtic ex-pat and Jesus' wife, a magical and strong and sometimes foolish woman, and her tale spans the course of four well-researched and well-written books. Written with cheek and humor and glory and beauty, all at ...more
Silke
This book swept me away from page one, but let me go again halve way through the book.
I loved the way Maeve (Magdalena) was portrayed. Such a fiery hearted young woman, a warrior in the flesh but also with the tongue.
I was especially pleased with the down to earth narration, I even found myself chuckling at certain passages of the book. I might understand that there are people out there who don’t like the mentioning of rock stars, New York and so on, but it worked for me. It was Maeve talking to
...more
Candice
I first read the second book in this trilogy, The Passion of Mary Magdalen, three years ago. I LOVED that book and was curious to read how the story began. Turns out that the things I enjoyed about the second book held true for the first one as well: Cunningham's creativity in winding the traditional Jesus-Mary Madgalene story around other historical venues and cultures; the details of the historical setting; how she makes the characters come alive; the poetry of some of her descriptions; the "b ...more
Don Booty
Elixabeth Cunningham is a born story-teller, a trait apparently passed on by her Irish ancestors. The story she tells in this novel is a wonderful mix of historical, archeological and religious perspectives on not just the fascinating Celtic culture, but also an intriguing explanation for the mysterious "missing time" in the life of Jesus. And her imagining of Magdalen - yes, the very same Magdalen "most beloved" by Jesus in the Gospels - is stunning, in the way the author brings to full and jui ...more
Monika
Initially, I did not enjoy this at all. First it was a lot of talk about celtic mythology type stuff which really didn't interest me. Second of all I was really disliking the Maeve, both because of the voice in which she was written and because of her behaviour/attitudes - she just was not likable. Around pg 100 I was going to stop reading, I just couldn't bear it, but I was disappointed I wasn't liking it so I read a bit further. Around pg 120 it gets a bit better. Admittedly there were still s ...more
Sally
Mar 17, 2015 Sally added it
Shelves: fiction
A fantasy tale that kept me reading, but I found the writing style unappealing. It may have been intended to reflect the adolescent voice of the heroine, so I might try the next volume to see if there's a change as the heroine matures.
Angelica Taggart
As I started this book, I thought "What an interesting concept" however I just didn't get into it like I thought I would, and when I got the notice from the library that it was overdue, I just took it back.
Maybe it's because I've been so busy and haven't had time to read anything except for books for classes, but when I ask myself, "Will I check it out again to finish it?" the answer was "Why?"
It's NOT a bad book at all - just not the right time for it & me I suppose.
Tonya
Cardboard cut out heroine. The author did no research on the time that she wrote about. Editing was annoyingly not complete. Do not read.
Neeuqdrazil
This was...

I've just finished it, and I'm not entirely sure what it was, or how I feel about it.

I adored Maeve as narrator - snarky, irreverent, speaking directly to the reader at times, and explaining things without making a big deal of them.

But at the same time, I sort of feel that the conceit (Jesus training with the Druids on Mona, and Maeve being his 'other half'), not that it took away from the story, exactly, but that it didn't ADD anything to the story. Maeve's story by itself, without
...more
Luna Pantera
This book is a must for people who are curious about Mary Magdalene. Ms. Cunningham presents a fiction version that is unlike most we have seen. Mauve as we are introduced to her is the daughter of Seven Warrior Witches that comes to the Isle of the Druids to learn the ancient mysteries, where she meets "her twin soul" Esu.

There love is forbid, but that doesn't stop our red head vixen!

This is the first of a series of three books the last to be published next year! If you love the sacred whore,
...more
Jeff Miller
Irreverent to the extreme but a great work.
Natalia Erehnah
The Maeve Chronicles are my favorite adult book series. I have read, reread, and read twice more. I adore everything about Magdalen Rising: her voice, her story, the characters.

In this first book, Maeve comes of age, leaves her mothers, and goes to study at a Druid college where she meets Yeshua. A wise woman prophecies that Maeve will be a great lover, and this is the foundation of the series. Maeve learns to love all and sees God in each person she encounters.

I'm a little bit jealous of thos
...more
Isaac


Honestly I didn't know what to think when I first started to read this book. I guess I sorta had an idea already in mind and when I realized it wasn't what I thought, I began to resent it early on. Giving it a second chance, I can say that I'm so GLAD that I decided to do so. The book is AWESOME and is what GREAT fiction is all about. MAEVE is a character that is to be reckoned with! Magick, Mystery, and Romance gotta love it!!! I can't wait to finish this book and get onto the next two. Cheers
...more
Alyssa
I am really really happy I read the second book of this series first. While I did enjoy this book I would not have been overly inspired by the series if I wasn't already completely into it. With lots of books there are the ups and downs and while the story was over all good it just did not have as compelling of a plot line compared to the second. My recommendation read the second one first then go back and read this one as a back story.
Jennifer Louden
I wish I could give this almost 4 stars. I loved her books The Wild Mother and the Return of the Goddess and while this is a very well written and stunning original historical novel, I found it overly long, without the story moving forward, or a good reason for why stuff was happening. It was interesting and wild but not enough forward momentum for me, so at times I got a bit bored. But will read more in the series I believe.
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Other Books in the Series

Maeve Chronicles (4 books)
  • The Passion of Mary Magdalen (Maeve Chronicles, #2)
  • Bright Dark Madonna (Maeve Chronicles, #3)
  • Red-Robed Priestess (Maeve Chronicles, #4)
The Passion of Mary Magdalen (Maeve Chronicles, #2) Bright Dark Madonna (Maeve Chronicles, #3) Red-Robed Priestess (Maeve Chronicles, #4) The Return of the Goddess The Wild Mother

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“I've outgrown my childhood name, and I haven't found a new one yet."
"Ah," she cried. "Then it will be my pleasure to name you for myself. I can tell you are a colleen after my own heart, more like to me than my own daughter Findbhair. So I bestow on you the brave name of Maeve until such a time as another name shall claim you.”
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“…these mothers at their midnight council were more like one great mind probing itself, divided at times as great minds may be, but one entity” 0 likes
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