by Nino Ricci
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From Governor General’ s Award-winner Nino Ricci, one of Canada’s most highly acclaimed literary voices, Testament is a bold work of historical fiction.

Set in a remote corner of the Roman Empire at a moment of political unrest and spiritual uncertainty, it re-tells the life of a holy man of enormous charisma who alters the course of human history. Grounded in extensive research, and written with the poetic sensibility that has earned Ricci an international reputation, Testament vividly re-creates first-century Palestine in elegant but accessible prose to explore the story of the man we know as Jesus.

Testament at once distances us from the familiar accounts by using Hebrew and Aramaic names. Moreover, he offers the story of Yeshua (Jesus) through the eyes and testimony of four fictional followers, reminiscent of yet utterly different from the Gospels, giving fresh perspective and a captivating narrative to an age-old story.


Nino Ricci, author

Nino Ricci’s first novel, Lives of the Saints, won the Governor General’s Award for Fiction, the Books in Canada First Novel Award and the F.G. Bressani Prize, and was made into a motion picture starring Sophia Loren. The novel was a long-time national bestseller, followed by the highly acclaimed In a Glass House and Where She Has Gone, which was shortlisted for the Giller Prize. His novel The Origin of Species received the Governor General's Literary Award for Fiction and the Canadian Authors Association Award for Fiction. His novels have appeared on numerous best book lists, including The New York Times and England’s Times Literary Supplement. Nino Ricci has won the Betty Trask Award for Fiction (UK), The Winnifred Holtby Prize (UK) and the Prise Contrepoint Madrineaux (France). He has been recognized with the Order of Canada for his contributions to literature as a renowned author. He lives in Toronto.


  • Perhaps Nino Ricci’s greatest achievement in "Testament", his altogether remarkable fourth novel, is that he manages to make the life of Jesus new again — through vitality, freshness, emotional engagement, and compelling storytelling. It’s quite an accomplishment. - Vancouver Sun
  • Memorable, captivating and unsettling, the prose [is] impeccable. - National Post
  • Ricci has given us a contemporary Jesus. Like a palimpsest, with each fresh image superimposed on earlier images, 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 mortality and morality plays. - The Globe and Mail
  • Carefully researched and richly imagined . . . Ricci skillfully brings this historical milieu to life. - Library Journal
  • Wonderfully vibrant. - Los Angeles Times
  • Stunning [...] an absolutely beautiful, rigorously intelligent, fiercely thoughtful fictional biography. - Booklist
  • Gently stripping the life of Jesus bare of its mythical trappings, Ricci [...] presents a lyrical, searching version of the biblical tale, grounding his work in the historical realities of the time and telling Jesus' story from four different perspectives [...] 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 inspired by the Gospels, from Renan's "Life of Jesus" to Jim Crace's "Quarantine". - Publishers Weekly

Rights Holder

Rights Holder: Cooke International

email: rights@cookeinternational.com

website: https://www.cookeinternational.com/

rights available: World

Additional Information

number of pages: 464

publication date: 02/25/2003

Original language of pub: English

Materials Available: complete manuscript