Two thousand years ago off the coast of Malta there occurred one of the most famous shipwrecks of history-famous because aboard her as a prisoner was the man who changed the course of world history with the Christian message. That man was the Apostle Paul. The Sin Bearer is a vivid retelling of his sea disaster outlined in the twenty-seventh chapter of the Book of Acts.
It is the story of Shipmaster Abiel Ben Heled, so devout in his Jewish faith that his crew call him "the rabbi" behind his back. It's the story of Abiel's hatred-for the Roman Centurion who commandeers his ship and for his prisoner, Paul, and the false Messiah Paul preaches. It's the story of Abiel's love for a beautiful slave among his passengers. And finally, of his decision to risk his ship on the certainty that Jesus, Paul's so-called Messiah, is a fraud.
It is a gamble he loses-but in the end he wins-in a human drama that will keep you enthralled to the last page.
A sprawling, four-volume history resulted from Mayhew's investigations. This extract focuses on the criminal class--pickpockets, prostitutes, rag pickers, and vagrants, whose true stories of degradation, horror, and desperation rival Dickensian fiction. A classic reference source for sociologists, historians, and criminologists, Mayhew's work is immensely readable. As Thackeray wrote, these urban vignettes conjure up "a picture of human life so wonderful, so awful, so piteous and pathetic, so exciting and terrible, that readers of romances own they never read anything like to it."