Grove Press
Canongate U.S.
Canongate U.S.

The Fire Gospel

by Michel Faber

“The satire is so entertaining, the pace so sharp, the writing so witty . . . The Fire Gospel can be read easily in one sitting. It’s effortless to consume, but with plenty of bite.” —The Observer

  • Imprint Grove Paperback
  • Page Count 224
  • Publication Date January 19, 2010
  • ISBN-13 978-0-8021-4474-4
  • Dimensions 5" x 7.75"
  • US List Price $13.00
  • Imprint Canongate U.S.
  • Page Count 224
  • Publication Date January 19, 2009
  • ISBN-13 978-1-8476-7183-7
  • Dimensions 5" x 7.75"
  • US List Price $20.00

About The Book

From The New York Times best-selling author of The Crimson Petal and the White, Michel Faber’s The Fire Gospel is a wickedly funny, acid-tongued, media-savvy picaresque that delves into our sensationalist culture.

Theo Griepenkerl, a Canadian linguistics scholar, is sent to Iraq in search of artifacts that have survived the destruction and looting of the war. While visiting a museum in Mosul, he finds nine papyrus scrolls tucked in the belly of a basrelief sculpture: they have been perfectly preserved for more than two thousand years. After smuggling them out of Iraq and translating them from Aramaic, Theo realizes the extent of his career-making find, for he is in possession of the Fifth Gospel, and it offers a shocking and incomparable eyewitness account of Christ’s crucifixion and last days on Earth. A hugely entertaining, and by turns shocking story, The Fire Gospel is a smart, stylish, and suspenseful novel.


The Fire Gospel is a fun and tender retelling of the Prometheus myth . . . there’s a tenderness about humankind and our inarticulate, profound need to believe that shines through Faber’s tale.” —Plain Dealer

“Mr Faber . . . is most insightful when describing fatuous superficiality . . . The Fire Gospel coasts cleverly and blithely.” —Janet Maslin, The New York Times

“Along with Christopher Moore’s Lamb, Paul Park’s The Gospel of Corax, and Gore Vidal’s Live from Golgotha, [The Fire Gospel] will form part of every laughter-loving freethinker’s catechism.” —B&N Review

“Using this book as a modern retelling of the Prometheus myth, Faber writes with humor, intelligence, and a keen eye for our modern culture. Readers will laugh at the book and maybe a little at themselves.” —Booklist

The Fire Gospel is a very funny book.” —The Toronto Star

“Faber asks us to consider the complexity of a world in which very different people come into continual contact with each other with very little understanding of motives and convictions beyond their own. Yet he does this with a light touch and never lectures . . . And all the while, the plot keeps ticking on—by turns (and sometimes simultaneously) funny, terrifying, suspenseful, thoughtful and always engaging.” —The Daily Telegraph

“Faber’s dry, mischievous humour, and the grimly funny repercussions of Griepenkerl’s hubris, stop this tale from ever becoming hard work. It is as a satire of the modern entertainment industry that The Fire Gospel excels . . . A hilariously entertaining read.” —The Sunday Telegraph

“The satire is so entertaining, the pace so sharp, the writing so witty . . . The Fire Gospel can be read easily at a sitting. It’s effortless to consume, but with plenty of bite.” —The Observer

“I was completely enthralled . . . brilliantly wicked fun, but much more than that too. Completely different from anything else he’s written, this frequently laugh-out-loud book reveals Faber being playful with religion, myths and taboos, as well as deliciously satirising some of the more bizarre aspects of being a writer . . . I read this in one sitting and will undoubtedly visit it again.” —The Sunday Herald

“Faber’s latest bristles with tightly edited ideas’Faber has lots of bitter fun at the expense of editors agents, scandal-stirrers and—in one hilarious chapter—amateur reviewers on Amazon. . . . This is a lean, controlled, instantly engrossing book, partly thanks to the taut writing and partly the fact that Faber has written it not as a smooth ribbon of narrative but a bumpy series of key scenes.” —Time Out (U.K.)

“A pacy book-world satire.” —Harper’s Bazaar (U.K.)


“You did a reading in there last night,” she said, jerking her head toward the Barnes & Noble.

“That’s right,” said Theo. “Were you there, ma’am? I didn’t see you.”

“I wasn’t there,” she said. “I wanted to be, but I got this here wheelchair, and that building is too difficult.” She pronounced the final syllable with a definite “kult” emphasis, the way lower-class Americans often did.

“I’m sorry to hear that,” said Theo.

“I read your book, Mr. Grippin,” said the black woman, eyes fixed unswervingly on Theo. “The Fifth Gospel.”

“Oh, thank you,” he said.

“No need to thank me, Mr. Grippin,” said the black woman. “God told me to read it. It was very innaresting.”

“Uh . . . I’m glad you thought so.”

“I would appreciate it so much if I could have your autograph. I got a special autograph book.”

“Uh . . . I’d be happy to.”

She fumbled inside her polyester garments with her stubby fingers. Instinctively, Theo bent down toward her, ready to oblige when she pulled her autograph book to light.

Instead, she pulled out a handgun.

“You done an evil thing, Mr. Grippin,” she said, more in sadness than in anger, as she lifted the grey metal barrel toward his forehead. “You goin’ straight to hell.”