RaveThe GuardianNixey has a great story to tell, and she tells it exceptionally well. As one would expect from a distinguished journalist, every page is full of well-turned phrases that leap from the page. She has an expert eye for arresting details, and brings characters and scenarios to life without disguising anything of the strangeness of the world she describes. Most of all, she navigates through these tricky waters with courage and skill. Writing critically about Christian history is doubly difficult: not only are the ancient sources complex, scattered and disputed, but also there are legions of modern readers waiting to pounce on the tiniest perceived error, infelicity or offense ... a finely crafted, invigorating polemic against the resilient popular myth that presents the Christianization of Rome as the triumph of a kinder, gentler politics. On those terms, it succeeds brilliantly.
PositiveThe GuardianGreenblatt leaves the reader in no doubt that science has won the intellectual debate. He is an Enlightenment realist: the steady accumulation of philological, anthropological, biological and geological knowledge has made the Genesis story no longer tenable, except as a story ... The Rise and Fall of Adam and Eve is undoubtedly what scholars used to call a 'whiggish' book: a study of western disenchantment, of intellectual progress, of the fading powers of the myths of a simpler age. But it is a more complex study than that. It is also an ode to human creativity and to the powerful grip of narrative.
RaveThe GuardianThis is a brilliant, shocking book ... The real scandal of this book is its relentless narcissism. Only someone with Carrère’s mountain-sized ego could reinvent the story of the early church as a parable for his own life (and, perhaps, vice versa). Luckily for the reader prepared to grapple with this complex, intellectual but compelling book, he is also witty, painfully self-critical and humane. The Kingdom is not without its problems, but it is a work of great literature ... Carrère knows full well that the authorial persona he has created has monstrous aspects to it, displaying a distinctively white-male-privileged combination of vanity, preciousness and pomposity. But there is a warm generosity to that voice too, a sincere desire to understand without judging ... a genre-bending book of great flair: a tribute, and indeed a monument, to the power of literary invention.