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January 23 , 2010

The Third Testament for the Third Millennium: Complete Edition


The Third Testament for the Third Millennium is a bold re-telling of the New Testament in a 21st Century context, asking Christians to question what they believe and why.

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Incorporating a dazzling array of artistic styles, convention-breaking use of language and sharply drawn characters, the series draws on its authors experience of journalism, broadcasting and politics, and on his work as a lay minister in the Church of England. It is profound and funny, moving and edgy, setting out how we might better live together with more self-restraint and less regulation.

The Complete Edition contains all three volumes of the series: Perpetua, Unity, and Spirit.

Perpetua, a 19 year old girl from South London, says that she is God. She gathers a motley collection of followers and begins her travels, performing miracles and spreading her gospel of unconditional love along the way. Her message provokes a strong and ultimately lethal reaction from Christianity's warring factions, politicians and journalists bent on profit instead of the truth. Her story is told by four people: Jack, a tabloid journalist; Claire, a social worker; Beth, a media student; and Damian, a theology graduate and Church House intern.

Following the inexplicable murder and reappearance of Perpetua, her followers spread a gospel of unconditional love. Whilst struggling to deal with issues of freedom and uniformity, power and love, tension mounts. Set in two quintessentially British settings, they quickly discover that each follower is called to pay a price, from tedium to martyrdom. With the death of one of Perpetuas most loyal supporters moments after uttering a revelatory accusation, they learn that obstacles come not only from outside their number, but from within.

The tranquil development of the Perpetuan movement is disrupted by Gregg, a former US Secret Service operative and charismatic sex maniac. He subverts Perpetuas message in a series of aggressive emails, pushing the movements non-combative leadership to breaking point. After a series of bizarre and spectacular appearances, Gregg discredits himself and the movement, but is reconciled through the direct intervention of Perpetua. Can the movement survive the ordeal? The Third Testament ends with Damians apocalyptic vision and a new liturgy.

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