Collected Works: Literature
by Patrick Tilley
A named partner in a heavyweight New York law firm finds himself buried in paperwork at his countryside getaway. He is trying to forget the body he encountered at the hospital the previous night: male, mid-thirties, lightly robed, long hair and beard, a wound below his ribs, and punctures through his wrists and feet. The man had vanished but now arrives, alive, outside the rural abode. Aghast, the attorney watches as the figure casually approaches the house, stopping to glance in admiration at a parked Porsche.
This mysterious automobile-lover, we learn, is Jesus of Nazareth; Mission tackles his Second Coming. Leo and his girlfriend bear witness to appearances of ‘The Man’ in Manhattan, who appears and disappears with apparent randomness. He may have been crucified nearly two millennia ago, but Patrick Tilley’s resurrected son of God exists as a cosmic traveller in an immense universe. He has experienced profound enlightenment, and has shocking, urgent messages to impart.
The novel comprises Leo’s account of this extraordinary set of events. Introduced to readers as Jewish but disillusioned with his faith, he constitutes a curious, appropriately sceptical recipient for The Man’s radical truths. The exchanges between the two are both referential and mundane; they break bread and share wine, but also muse over cinema on Broadway. We are blessed with an intimate insight into a personality behind a religious legacy, however subject to invention that character may be.
Just as The Man crosses multiple dimensions, Tilley’s tale spans several planes of existence. Humankind and Earth’s endeavours are situated within stellar clashes of light and darkness, raging beyond the apparently linear boundaries of space-time. The novel’s cosmological models blend science fiction, mysticism, and New Thought, toying with the intricacies of Christian theology. Mirroring the son of God’s approving nod to Leo’s high-end car, Mission marries the biblical and the modern with a confident smirk.
Words by Hugh Maloney