A first-century Israeli village lies ruined after zombies devour most of the coastal community. In their grief, the villagers threw the dead into the Sea of Galilee, not suspecting that this act would poison the fish and starve the few survivors on land.
Yeshua hears their hunger. He hears the moans of the living and the dead, like screaming in his ears. Desperate to respond, he calls up the fish.
Just one thing:
The dead are called up, too.
No Lasting Burial ushers readers into a vivid and visceral re-interpretation of the Gospel of Luke and the legend of the Harrowing of Hell. The hungry dead will rise and walk, and readers may never look at these stories the same way again.
Here’s a taste of No Lasting Burial:
Some days, out on the sea, they would haul up one of their too-empty nets and feel some weight in it, and looking down they would see rising out of the deep, one of the dead tangled in the net, its face lifted toward them, eyes pale and white like those of a dead fish. Already reaching a hand toward the surface, its jaw opening.
And when that happens…
Shimon took up an oar and leapt on the gunwale and spun the wooden blade in his hands to give it momentum and force. Slammed the blunt wood into one of the pale faces. The corpse lost its hold on the net and was hurled aside into the waves, where it sank as swiftly from sight as a dream upon waking. Then, roaring as though furious at the dead and at the sea and the sky and Mighty God himself, Shimon spun the oar, slamming it into one face after another, dislodging the dead, in one case crushing the corpse’s skull so that its body went limp as he sent it back to the sea.
In 26 AD, the whole world has become sharp and brittle with the memory of violence. You just met Shimon, the fisherman out on the waves. This is Kana, the zealot:
Memories crowded upon him–that day of ambush on the high Adummim last summer; the sweat and heat of his long night’s battle at the synagogue door fifteen years ago; the scream of Ahava, his beloved, dying as the teeth of the dead tore at her; his encounter with a dead child in the alleys of Yerushalayim, its empty eyes and wild hiss, a tattered doll still clutched in its hand. Kana shoved the memories away, hard; he had no time for them. Every bone, every beat of his heart, every breath had to be focused on this moment, on the slide and shriek of his Roman knife, on the lurching, groping movements of the enemy he faced. On killing.
And this is Yeshua, the stranger who comes to their town:
“My mother . . . she told me once that our father did not promise a life without pain,” Yeshua murmured, closing the woman’s eye. His words were slow and spoken with terrible clarity. “Not without pain. Only that he would weep with us. Only that his heart would break. Only that he would take each moment of suffering, each death, each, and hold it in his hands, and . . .and bring from it something, something even more beautiful than what was lost. A forest of cedar grows from a field of ash, and each seed, every seed must fall to the earth, fall and crack open and die before it can become a barley plant.” He touched the woman’s hair, stroked it a moment. His gaze never left her face.
And there is a love story, love in the midst of great pain, between young Koach and Tamar:
Then she did something he did not expect. She let the blanket slip from her shoulders, let it settle to her feet, gently as feathers. For a moment, she held her arms across her breasts, then let them fall to her sides and she lifted her chin though her face burned. She let him see her, all of her, her beauty and her bruises. This gift of herself. Her father might strip her or beat her, but he could not take this from her: her right to open her heart and her body to one whose heart called to hers. Koach held his breath. All his life, he would remember this moment. His first sight of her. The memory would be holy to him. As though her rooftop were the place where God touched the world and created beauty.
Buy No Lasting Burial today. Seriously. Do it. You’ve never read a novel quite like this one. Go read it, and I will see you in the Galilee.
Stant Litore is a novelist. He writes about gladiators on tyrannosaurback, Old Testament prophets battling the hungry dead, geneticists growing biological starships, time-traveling hijabi bisexual defenders of humanity from the future. Explore his fiction here. And here is one of his toolkits for writers, and here’s another book where he nerds out about ancient languages and biblical (mis)translation. Enjoy!