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The Secret Magdalene
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The Secret Magdalene

4.09  ·  Rating details ·  4,490 ratings  ·  481 reviews
Raised like sisters, Mariamne and Salome are indulged with riches, position, and learning—a rare thing for females in Jerusalem. But Mariamne has a further gift: an illness has left her with visions; she has the power of prophecy. It is her prophesying that drives the two girls to flee to Egypt, where they study philosophy, mathematics, and astronomy in the Great Library o ...more
Hardcover, 448 pages
Published March 27th 2007 by Crown (first published 2005)
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Popular Answered Questions
Laura John the Less, is Magdalene when she poses as a young man.
John of the River, John the Baptizer, and John of Kefar Imi are all the same person. I was c…more
John the Less, is Magdalene when she poses as a young man.
John of the River, John the Baptizer, and John of Kefar Imi are all the same person. I was confused too for awhile, the names were interchanged a lot, I imagine there was a reason why the author did this, but I'm not sure why.(less)

Community Reviews

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Average rating 4.09  · 
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 ·  4,490 ratings  ·  481 reviews

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Mariamne. Queen Bee. John the Less. Magdal-eder.
Daughter. Prophet. Student. Apostle.
Woman. Man. Heart. Rock.

Many names, many roles, many titles.

Only one human being.

Mary Madgalene

This book is wonderful, and I am so glad of being able to read it. I am always being a "fan" of Mary Magdalene, and here I was able to read the story that I want to read about her life. Definitely it's now one of my favorite books.

I am not saying that this is the truth. However, if you really believe that M
Mar 06, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone at all, especially someone searching for meaning in this world.
Recommended to Silky by: A friend who made me read its reviews and they were right.
I'm not a Christian so I had no idea as I began this book what I "ought" to think about it. I read it because of its reviews and I am so glad I did. It probably seems to be all about the Bible and Christianity and religion, but it isn't. It's about the teachings of real mystics, people who have transcended this world we think so important and so real, and causes us so much pain. It's about what Jesus Christ probably really taught, and you won't find much of that in your Bible. But for me, it's a ...more
Mar 29, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: EVERYONE
Recommended to Kerry by: Saw it in a bookstore
To tackle this particular story takes chutzpah. But there's so much more to this book than a completely compelling reworking of what the writers of the gospels retold so long ago. There's the missing historical background the Bible doesn't give you, and the depth of the philosophical sources (Hellenistic, Persian, Gnostic) that went into Christianity at the very beginning, and then there's the incredible understanding of what Jesus was trying to teach us. Plus, it's all done in story, no preachi ...more
Infanta Saradeth
Apr 06, 2008 rated it it was amazing
The best. Finished it a week ago and it stays in my head so I find myself mulling over everything. If this keeps happening, I'll have to read it again sooner than I expected to. A wondrous work of beauty. Not religious. Not preachy. Not new age. A novel of huge importance. ...more
Jan 24, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audio
Tough one to review. A little slow in spots but so interesting. This is basically the philosophy of Jesus Christ and his rise to being the messiah. This story certainly differs from the gospels. A.) it's told from a woman's perspective and B.) the God, Man, Son relationship is very philosophical! C.)If you believe in everything the gospels say then read this as fiction, which is what it's labeled as anyways. ...more
Jul 20, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Liberates the woman Mary Magdalene, gives her the history, wisdom, and power we wish she might have had. I delighted in the rich and beautiful esoteric presentation of Christ and his teachings. This is a love story on several levels; there is the love of wisdom (present in the philosophy woven throughout the entire book), the love held especially for a man (in its most devoted form), and love for the divine (in essence, the purest love of all.)
I've reread this twice and will read it again. I don
Mar 07, 2008 rated it it was amazing
This is a must read book!!!!!!!
Rip Roberts
Mar 09, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: open minded lovers of great books.
Recommended to Rip by: Saw it and bought it.
Mark my words, a classic in the making. Read it! What an adventure of mind, body and spirit. Laughed sometimes, and cried my heart out twice. Left with the need to read it again.
Elena Morales
Apr 21, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: hungry open minds.
This book could open your mind.  This book is not Christian.  It's not Jewish.  It's not Gnosticism, although it's about Gnosis which is the Greek word for what we think of as enlightenment.  This book, if you don't care about any of that, is a great read written really well.  It could have happened in this extremely clever well-researched way.  But it doesn't matter if it did or it did not.  It left me breathless and so hungry for more.  I hope Longfellow is planning on more. ...more
Jun 27, 2008 rated it it was amazing
For my money, this ought to be an award-winning book. It ought to chosen by Oprah so all sorts of people who would love it would find it. It's phenomenal. The characters, the philosophy, the theology, the setting, the historical insight, the WRITING! To walk with Jesus and the Magdalene and to feel them for the first time as people struggling with their times and their place in that time, to meet them in all their pain and sorrow and joy...what a trip, man! ...more
Jun 09, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: everyone.
Recommended to Paintedonclouds by: me
Would love to have time to review all I bother to read, but so busy and so tired. But this time, just wanted to say a few words. From 1 to 10 I'd give this a 10+. It was incredibly wise and wonderful. ...more
Doug Wells
Jun 05, 2008 rated it it was amazing
This is a great book! OK, I'm a bit of a freak for ancient cultures, religion, and the like - but it's excellent. A bit along the lines of The Red Tent - follow Mary Magdalene during the times of Jesus. ...more
Monica Robbins
Jul 22, 2008 rated it it was amazing
one of my favorite reads this year. it is a well written and new version/take on the story of jesus and mary magdalene. refreshing, actually. you might say a more "enlightened " version. comes with a recomendation if you a) enjoy novels & b) are open to versions of jesus outside of the bible.

it is truly an amazing book.
Kevin A
Aug 05, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: the world
Recommended to Kevin by: found it by accident...but no accidents, right?
I am a healer. This is the only novel I can think of that could heal if the reader so wished. The spiritual teachings here are profound.
Sep 24, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: lovers of real literature,even to those who merely love history and want to be immersed in it.
Recommended to Susan by: My mother, bless her
I finished the whole book, and then began again to savor not only the story and the wonderful writing, but the lessons to be found here. As a lapsed Catholic, I lost my feeling for such things. But in this book I found it all again. I don't know if it's true, but if this book is read by only religious people or by seekers of spiritual wisdom, that's a loss to readers looking for fully realized characters and great tragedy and exciting adventure. The grounding of the book in real history, and act ...more
Jan 19, 2009 rated it it was amazing
If you would like to read a different interpretation of the story of Mary Magdalene's life and the life of Jesus (Yeshua) then this is a must read. The historic research that Ki Longfellow has done must have taken a lifetime, and the story sounds entirely possible, perhaps probable. It drags in some places, but there are also parts that sound so true that they gave me goosebumps. Longfellow includes insights into the hidden truths that run throughout all religions and spiritual paths and sound a ...more
Oct 02, 2008 rated it it was amazing
It's been some time since I read this book, but I picked it up again the other day and this time I like it better than I did before. I liked it a great deal on the first read, but now I love it. I've done a little research about the period since and I find the more the reader knows, the more you discover this book knows. Most of the time you reread a book to revisit how it made you feel. And this is true of this book. But you also reread this book to find another layer and another layer of profo ...more
Dec 27, 2008 rated it it was amazing
A mind bending life-changer. This one may not sell like Dan Brown, but it will be around longer. Beautiful language, profound thoughts, thrilling adventure, and intriguing answers to ultimate questions. How much more could a book offer?
Nov 13, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Beautiful beautiful book!
Michael Innes
Mar 31, 2009 rated it it was amazing
I read this because of its ratings here and on amazon and blogs, and I have to say, what a surprise. This isn't my usual book, or so I thought. But it turns out I don't have a usual book, just those that keep me turning the pages, excited and involved. What's going to happen next? How did this writer learn all this stuff? How long did she have to research? Has anyone read the selected bibliography at the back of the book? Damn. I am so impressed. And then to read what she's made of all those boo ...more
Phlippa Piece-marton
Mar 26, 2009 rated it it was amazing
I could be wrong but I can only think any one or two star ratings come from offending the reader's beliefs. I can't think it has anything to do with the book itself. The story is thrilling and page turning, the character fully real and human, the events can break your heart, and the the writing is fluid and poetic. Not difficult at all unless you like your reading so easy you never have to pause for any sort of thought. This is a book for lovers of literature, writing, and profound spiritual tru ...more
Kate Noyes
Feb 14, 2009 rated it it was amazing
No point in detailing the plot. Every point in speaking of the effect this book had on me. Things that confused me, seem cleared up. The path I've been seeking seems straight before me. And a bonus, this book is beautifully written, amazingly imagined, and speaks from a mystics understand. I was, and am, in love with it. More, please more, from this author ...more
Mar 30, 2009 rated it it was amazing
I've spent years trying to make heads or tails of humanity's need to create religions. I've shaken my head at the childish concepts they come up with to make themselves feel better and a class called "priests" richer and more powerful. I've wondered how people could allow their own minds to be controlled by the minds of, sometimes, lesser men (or women.) This book has been like standing under a waterfall of reason and understanding. Not only is the story an adventure from beginning to end, writt ...more
Feb 21, 2009 rated it it was amazing
This is become my favorite book. I've read all my life. I think of myself as a discerning reader. All the classics: English, Russian, German, French, American...and more and more. And some of these books have never left me. This is going to be one of them. I notice it's not on any bestseller list and it's not not mentioned by the professionals as brilliant, and yet it's the most brilliant thing I've read in years. It has it all: great writing, a great idea, profound research, profound ideas, and ...more
Cass Mccloud
Feb 06, 2009 rated it it was amazing
I've just finished this book and half a box of hankies. Of course we know how it ends, but who has ever explained how it began? To enter the possibly true heart of real people in a setting the New Testament barely hints at, is fascinating and eye-opening. A wonderful book, wonderfully observed, and beautifully written. A slow boiling classic. I think this book is going to stick around. ...more
Oct 11, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Fantastic, profound, to be read over and over.
Ambros Friedhelm
Apr 02, 2009 rated it it was amazing
As a German and a lover of German literature, I do make an effort to find the best from elsewhere. This book I would count as one of the best. I now await more from this writer. I have looked and this seems to be the first in a trilogy? I think this is so. The second book is also at heart a search for meaning but is about Hypatia of Alexandria. I say that I champ at the bit.
Anne Woodbridge
Apr 03, 2009 rated it it was amazing
A book to read and read again, to savor and thrill to and learn from. A book to cry over and gnaw off your fingernails too. In short a great read. It also, without trying, teaches you all that stuff other books preach about in the most intriguing and involving way.
Mac Morris
Mar 17, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Best book I've read in ages. It has everything. Getting everyone I know to read it. ...more
Aug 17, 2008 rated it it was amazing
A very interesting book. Part fiction, part fact, I suspect, it gives one a great deal to think about.
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What did you think of the book? 1 1 Jul 30, 2020 03:18PM  
Rating a book on its merits 22 87 Aug 16, 2008 05:57PM  
Novel? Historical Fiction? 29 77 Jul 24, 2008 04:07PM  

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Ki Longfellow, born on Staten Island, New York, to a French-Irish mother and an Iroquois father, grew up in Hawaii and Marin County, California, but ended up living in France and England for many years. She is the widow of a British national treasure, the complete artist Vivian Stanshall.

In England, she created and sailed the Thekla, a 180 foot Baltic Trader, to the port of Bristol where it became

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