* Imaginative, scrupulously researched biography of a man who is both the most radical and the most universally beloved of all Christian saints - Francis.
nspired by the great frescoes of St Francis of Assisi, the highly-praised author of ITALIAN FEVER has written a new and wholly original biography. Composed in a series of vividly realised 'panels', SALVATION begins with the dying Francesco - and the rivalry for his body among the towns of medieval Italy - and moves back in time toward his mystical conversion. The old friar, exhausted by illness and division among his brotherhood, gives way to the zealous missionary who joins the Fifth Crusade, confident that he can convert Sultan al-Kamil in Egypt. Later, we see the unwashed and innocent revolutionary, unafraid to lecture a pope on Christ's message, and finally the frivolous young Francesco on the deserted road where his encounter with a leper leads him to an ecstatic embrace of God. SALVATION is a window into a medieval world whose physicality and purity have rarely been rendered with such visceral power. Most important, it is a unique, immediate portrait of the great mystic, whose legend has resonated through the centuries in both religious and secular realms.
Be careful - This is one of those rare books with the grace and power to change your life - Paul Mariani, LIBRARY JOURNAL
The narrative is charged with emotion. - CHURCH TIMES
Stunning... an alarmingly plausible study of his life... Her prose is rich, but not oppressive, deft without being dismissive, sensual but not too self-conscious. - INDEPENDENT ON SUNDAY
Martin is gifted with considerable ability in painting vivid word pictures of the medieval world that Francis graced. - CATHOLIC TIMES
Valerie Martin is one of America's finest contemporary novelists, best known for her Orange Prize-winning PROPERTY and also the acclaimed MARY REILLY, which was filmed by Stephen Frears. Her most recent novel, her tenth, is THE GHOST OF THE MARY CELESTE.
She is the author of three collections of short stories and SALVATION, a biography of St Francis.