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By Nino Ricci

“In the beauty of its language, its rich detail of place and character, its humanity and grace and sense of wonder, Nino Ricci’s Testament both transcends and revalidates the so-called historical novel. Religion aside, history aside, this is a lovely work of fiction.”
-Tim O’Brien, author of July, July

“A genuine tour-de-force.”
The Washington Post



From Nino Ricci, one of Canada’s greatest literary voices, comes a remarkable novel, astonishing in its grace, intelligence and scope. Set in a remote corner of the Roman Empire at a moment of political unrest and spiritual uncertainty, Testament is the timeless story of how a holy man of enormous charisma and passionate belief alters forever the course of human history.

We come to know Yeshua through the eyes of four disparate people. First, through Yihuda, a committed political fighter who is invigorated by their discussions about a sovereign state for the Jews – a place Yeshua imagines as a philosophical rather than physical kingdom. Through Miryam of Migdal we come to learn of the controversy of Yeshua’s teachings as the two travel through Galilee-Yeshua encouraging the many to question the teachings of the powerful few. Through Miryam, his mother, we learn of Yeshua’s all-too-human vulnerability, the rigor of his conviction and his unfailing compassion. Finally, it is through Simon of Gergesa, a Greek shepherd that we witnesses the last days of the Jewish preacher as he journeys to Jerusalem.

As the novel progresses, we begin to see how the story of Jesus, filtered by different eyes and desires and subject to countless retellings, will be transformed into myth. The result is a captivating, provocative, and moving account that will redefine the way we look at the possibilities of history and parable.

“Ricci’s earlier trilogy…had established him in my mind as a writer of impeccable craft…but nothing in those more conventional novels had prepared me for his latest. Ricci somehow succeeds in making [Jesus] and the questions he posed fresh and complex and inexhaustible. …Others have been along the same course in recent years, but none with the transparency and spellbound beauty of Ricci.”
-Pico Iyer cites Testament as his favourite overlooked book of 2003 in the Los Angeles Book Review

“This is a remarkable work — immensely savvy about the nature of human longing, compassionate about human failure, and illuminating about the trajectory of the hero. It’s beautifully written, an endeavor both humble and risky.”
-Barry Lopez, author of Arctic Dreams

“Persuasive evidence that a writer as gifted as Ricci can tackle almost any subject and succeed with it.”
Kirkus Reviews

“Complex, compelling and achingly heroic.”
-Denver Post & Rocky Mountain News

“Conscientiously researched, beautifully written, and completely engaging … Testament is historical fiction of the very best kind, deserving of the widest attention and readership.”
-Fenton Johnson, author of Keeping Faith

“[Nino] Ricci is a fantastic storyteller, and the four testimonies he’s bound in Testament comprise an unsettling book.”
The Christian Science Monitor

“Ricci’s lucid, thoughtful storytelling and his ability to shed fresh light on an oft-told tale makes this a valuable entry in the annals of fiction inspried by the Gospels.”
Publishers Weekly

“Testament is a remarkable retelling of the Jesus story, doing what great art always does — making what is familiar suddenly fresh, daring, challenging. You will never think of the characters of the Gospel accounts in the same way again, which is the good news of this stunning novel.”
-Rev. Stephen Kendrick, senior minister, First and Second Church, Boston

“Ricci transends the stale confines of ‘the historical Jesus’ debate and invites us into that imaginative region where Jesus finds a living context.”
-Dr. Bruce Chilton, director, Institute for Advanced Theology, Bard College, and author of Rabbi Jesus: An Intimate Biography

“[Ricci] manages to capture not a more pointed, but a fuller sense of Jesus than either tradition or a clever iconoclast can provide.”
San Francisco Bay Guardian

“Memorable, captivating, and unsettling.”
National Post

“A stunning historical novel that will only enhance [Nino’s] high reputation … what Ricci does is build an absolutely beautiful, rigorously intelligent, fiercely thoughtful fictional biography.”
-BookList (US), starred review

“Like a palimpsest, Ricci’s Jesus testifies to the inexhaustible power of story, reminding us that enduring myths are not windows through which we view objective truths, but mirrors framing our own evanescent morality plays, in saecula saeculorum.”
The Globe and Mail


“Bold and brilliant.”
The Gazette (Montreal)

“Testament, a refracted biography of Jesus, becomes too an examination of storytelling itself, for what is Jesus of Nazareth if not a teller of stories?. . .From the good book Ricci has fashioned a great story.”
Quill & Quire

“Ricci is one of Canada’s best pure writers, and Testament is no small achievement in any technical regard.”
-Alex Good,


Doubleday, Canada, Spring 2002

Houghton Mifflin, US, Spring 2003

Natur Och Kultur, Sweden

AST Publishers, Russia

Laguna, Serbia

Perseus, Bulgaria


National Bestseller

Winner of the Trillium Award

Nominated for the Rogers Writers Trust Award

Nominated for the Commonwealth Writers Prize

A Vancouver Sun Best Book Of The Year

Other Books by Nino Ricci