In The Fire Gospel, one of the more recent installments in the Myths series, Michel Faber uses as inspiration the myth of Prometheus. Theo Griepenkerl is a Canadian academic specializing in Aramaic linguistics who travels to Iraq to make a deal with a museum in Mosul: send your artifacts to Toronto, where we will display and protect them for a few years while you rebuild your facilities (and the rest of your country). But as he’s touring the museum, the building is attacked and the curator killed.
Looking for a place to hide until the firing stops, Theo heads to the basement toilets.
He was halfway down the spiral stairs when he noticed that a wall-mounted, heavily pregnant bas-relief goddess he’d admired on his first trip down had been damaged in the blasts. Her belly—unexpectedly hollow—had been cracked open like an egg. He looked down at the floor of the basement where the shards of stone had fallen.
In amongst the shards, loosely swaddled in cloth, lay nine scrolls of papyrus.
Those scrolls turn out to be a new gospel, the Gospel of Malchus. Theo keeps his mouth shut, secretes the scrolls back to Toronto, authenticates them, and begins translating. One of the most arrogant protagonists I’ve ever read, he’s surprised when publishers don’t jump at the chance to print Malchus’s ugly little tale. A sample:
Brothers and sisters in the Messiah! I write these words in lowest wretchedness; I hope that you will read them in highest gladness. My belly is afflicted with constant pains, and food passes through me without giving nourishment. The gnawing in my guts allows me no sleep. Four months I have been like this. My flesh is yellow, my eyes are yellow, the hairs fall from my head, and my innards make
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