Il guaritore (The Healer)
400 pages, Euro 20,00
Leone’s The Healer is a truly captivating story.
A thought-provoking novel, not to be missed.
Readers who are into the genre will love it, as well as anybody who seeks for an exciting piece of literature.
Il colore dei libri
The finest artistic vibes flow through the pages of this novel, breathing with contemporary, sheer creativity.
La Gazzetta dello spettacolo
Let the reader learn Damiano Leone’s unique interpretation of History itself.
Let them fall for Jeshua’s magnetic charisma; let them be charmed by this rapturous prose.
«We don’t need a zealous mystic to describe what in our hearts we long to see; we don’t need a dispassionate scientist to dissect events that have no explanation. No, what we do need is so balanced an individual, so firm a person, that can only truly long for the truth. Because you want to know, Dr Sachs, don’t you? What you really want is to know whether all of us have been delusional for two thousand years. Just that.»
Damiano Leone’s The Healer takes place in a not-so-distant future – an era marked by fracture and ambiguity, where the need for a dramatic change for the better is more desperate than ever. And this is where the Advanced Research Centre of Geneva steps in: thanks to the funding provided by the Vatican, a team of Swiss scientists manages to achieve the most ambitious goal – to send a man back in time. The time traveller is Mark Sachs, known as Freezer, and he is set to conduct an unprecedented mission: he has to go back to two thousand years before his time in order to verify the factual existence of Jeshua ben Yosef, eye-witness his resurrection, and ultimately come back to testify the truth to his own contemporaries. However, as soon as Mark climbs to the top of the little hill of Golgotha – the place where the dead body of Jesus of Nazareth was buried in the Sepulchre –, an unexpected twist of fate forces him to abort the mission and rush back to his present. And he does not come unaccompanied: Mark has brought a mysterious passenger back with him; a man who lay dead in his tomb a few minutes earlier, and who is now miraculously back to life. Is he the Son of God, or is he just an ordinary man? Finding the answer will not be easy, especially since the man from the past has lost his memory. Only one thing is for sure: such an event cannot go unnoticed by the mightiest powers in the world – powers that would be severely threatened if the miraculous existence of Jeshua ben Yosef were to be proved. Eminences of the world’s great monotheistic religions start giving chase to the mysterious stranger with different motives: some want to eradicate him; some want to have him on their side to weaken the Vatican; and some want to protect him even at the expense of the hegemony of the Church. As soon as the man from the past lands to a bewildering new world, feeling nothing but confusion, his presence becomes a delicate political matter, only to be magnified by the media circus. Mark will soon become deeply attached to Jeshua: putting his cold aloofness aside, he will learn what trusting another human being means. Helped by Silvie and John, two reporters that will be given the honour to interview the man who could be the Messiah, Mark will do everything to protect the one who could revolution the fate of humanity before it’s too late. The Healer is a compelling, complex novel that explores the character of a man rather than a deity’s – a man destined to become a shining light for a sick and weary world. Jeshua, holding within his heart all the virtue and frailty that make humanity so wonderful, becomes an inspiring symbol for those who want to be better people – for those who wish to learn and be more aware of their path of self-destruction. For “mankind can change”, and the world, our home, can change as well.
THE PLOT: Two thousand years back in time, a shining clutter of stars illuminates the night over Jerusalem. In the silent stillness of a rock sepulchre, someone is watching over the body of a man who has been executed: a common sight for that remote, savage era, one might think. And yet things couldn’t be more unusual: the name of that man is Mark Sacks, and he has travelled back in time with the most extraordinary mission ever given. There is a chance that the body he is watching over is the corpse of the man historically known as Jesus of Nazareth. But things don’t go like the Vatican’s higher echelons had liked to, and after Mark travels back to the present taking that man, Jeshua, with him, everybody will find out what a deeply complex individual that stranger is. Jeshua has lost his memory; he has the frame of a warrior rather than that of a visionary prophet, and he is capable of miraculous healing deeds. His unearthly gift makes him the target of a fierce dispute amidst the world’s major economic, political and religious powers. Jeshua, however, will not suffer all the uncalled-for attention, and will go as far as breaking away from the top-secret research centre he has been confined to. He becomes a pilgrim, something that comes very natural to him; and his wandering through this strange, alien world will lead him to Rome. The Eternal City will face Jeshua with the deadliest adversary; an enemy that serves Evil itself throughout the universe, and that is set to wreak havoc in the cradle of Christianity itself.
«Your Holiness… If someone from the opposite party manages to talk to him, it will be all over the media.»
The mention of that contemporary detail made the Pope frown. The media – the true god of this new barren, careless, absurd world; a world where even the most painful events were absorbed and digested with utter indifference. Such an indifference, the Pope considered, was almost satanic in its cruelty.
He sighed again. «But what can a lone man do…».
Breaching the Vatican’s strict etiquette, Hayder didn’t wait for the Pope to finish his sentence. He stepped forward. «He wouldn’t be lone at all. There was a leak from the Centre. A lot of people know about him now, Your Holiness. And they want him.»
«But he is just a frightened man…»
«…who will give us endless trouble if he ends up on the wrong side.»
As patient and accommodating he was, the eighty-year-old Pope was starting to get upset by Hayder’s behaviour. Brushing him off with his hand, he replied in a steadier tone: «It seems to me that you are being too hasty. The Holy Church was shaken by storms much more dreadful than this one, and we outlived each one of them. Why should this storm be worse? We can always deny the facts, be unavailable for comment, avoid admitting anything. Why would anyone think he has anything to do with us?».
The Jesuit leader received that scolding with his head humbly lowered; then, with a meeker voice, replied: «It’s not that simple, Your Holiness. His genes and his memories are those of a man who lived two thousand years ago. Even supposing that he’s just faking his amnesia, his DNA cannot lie. A genetic investigation could strongly suggest that he does come from the past.»
Clement XV now looked troubled. «Really? Can it be proved?».
«Yes. Not with absolute certainty – but yes, it can be proved.»
The Pope outstretched his hand in the blessing gesture that signalled that the meeting was over. A decision had been taken. «Alright, then. If such a risk exists, you must find him.»
Damiano Leone was born in Trieste in 1949.
The scientific nature of his studies and education led him to devote his career to technical subjects, at least at first.
His job and his passion drove him to plunge into the study of ancient history, arts, and literature: a three-decade long passion that Leone nurtured with countless visits to museums and archaeological sites all over Europe.
Upon retirement, he moved to a mountain village in Friuli and finally had the time and peace of mind to fulfil his never-forgotten literary dreams.
He finished his historical novel, Enkidu, in 2012. In 2015, Leone published Lo spettatore (“The spectator”) and in 2018 The symbol.
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