Sadoc, son of Azor, lies diseased and dying on the outreaches of the Roman Empire. He sets down for future generations a tale of epic proportions, recounting no less an event than the birth of Christianity. And what an account it is—after all, the son of God was born into the "kingdom of the wicked." Anthony Burgess's 1985 novel (following the long narrative poem Moses and the novel Man of Nazareth to form his "biblical trilogy") is a satirical romp through the holy land, and was written as preparation for his screenplay for the British television miniseries A.D.
"Both reader and author have marvelous fun. Some ten or dozen emperors or empresses are stabbed, hacked to pieces, poisoned or otherwise brutally murdered. Few varieties of curious sex are not given a showing. And as for the burning of Rome, throwing Christians to the lions, and the sacking of the temple at Jerusalem—what an opportunity they provide for Burgess's rumbustious style."—Sunday Telegraph (London)