Mary Magdalene: Biography of a Legend book cover. Picture

This is the cover I decided to go with for my Mary Magdalene book, which I have been revising for electronic publication. Thanks to all who offered opinions on the other cover mock-ups.
I felt a historical artwork was more appropriate, since it is a history book, and this one, featuring a detail of a painting by the Russian artist Alexander Ivanov spoke to me quite a lot. I like this vision of Magdalene herself, where Ivanov has created a beautiful image without making the saint's figure too blonde or prettified. More historical images appear throughout, illustrating the text.
The e-book is now available at [link]

A chunk of the book is available for reading in the free preview there.

The expert review the original draft of the book received from an established publisher (Boydell and Brewer) contained the following, which I feel neatly sums up the nature of the book, while endorsing the need for such a book:

'In this book, Gordon Napier sets out to “tell the story of the Magdalene’s story,” in a way that transcends “conspiracy theory and mythology.” The author intends to examine and evaluate the historical evidence in order to piece together the history of Mary Magdalene’s image and cult through the “early Middle Ages” and into “the age of the crusades”. Particular strengths of the book are its examination of the saint and her cult in both orthodox and heterodox contexts and in both the Western and the Eastern church – cultural worlds which few scholars are willing or able to address jointly. The author considers that the age of the crusades was a pivotal moment in the cult, bringing an unprecedented degree of contact between different Christian (and non-Christian) traditions and leading to the cult’s promotion by a series of different groups for very different religious and political reasons.

In a post-Dan-Brown world, in which much nonsense is written about Mary Magdalene in particular and early Christianity in general, and in which it is crucial for history rather than mythology to reach the general public, this book has much to recommend it. For the most part it is engagingly written, in an accessible but not elementary style. It is enlivened by many references to and quotations from primary sources. Its treatment of such large historical developments as the crusades and the history of the mendicant orders is largely accurate, though necessarily superficial. The book’s division into two parts, one chronicling the evolution of different understandings of Mary Magdalene’s place in the Christian story and the other exploring the cult in and beyond the crusading era, is sensible. Its thematic chapters likewise are sensible and create an engaging structure... The conclusion is particularly well-written and engaging, and the epilogue and appendices are useful.'
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