New Biblical Era Novel From Bestselling Author Marian Rizzo Explores the Motivations of the Human Heart

Author Marian Rizzo and WordCrafts Press are celebrating the release of Rizzo’s new Biblical-era historical fiction tale, The Leper. The novel, which released December 9, 2021, is already gaining traction with fans, debuting at #16 on’s Hot New Releases in Biblical Fiction chart, and at #71 on the Hot New Releases in Ancient History Fiction chart.

Set in the turbulent realm of Roman-occupied Judea, The Leper details the all too familiar trials, tribulations, desires, motivations, and ultimate failure of human interaction, revealing that human nature really hasn’t changed much over the past 2,000 years.

“The seeds for The Leper were planted more than 30 years ago while I was reading a chapter in Leviticus that dealt with the treatment of lepers,” bestselling novelist Marian Rizzo says. “I wondered if there might be another form of leprosy, one that attacks the heart and the spirit of a man. Over the years, and after many painful rewrites and edits, the final manuscript has come together. It tells the fictitious story of Eleazar Ben Judah, a self-centered, self-serving physician during the time of Christ. It isn’t until Eleazar discovers a leprous blemish on his arm that he realizes he’s already been a leper within his heart. Like most of us who believe, he ultimately admits there is only one cure for a leprous heart, and that is faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.”

Eleazar followed his father along the narrow trail from one level to the next. They moved beyond the grassy hillside onto the rocky path, descended to the valley below, then rose to the three peaks of the Mount of Olives.

At the crest, a vast wilderness stretched before them, and in the distance the pink-hued mountains of Moab stood against the pale blue sky. With the rising of the sun beyond those hills life came to the desert. Red and yellow wildflowers turned toward the heavens. Lush myrtle boasted clusters of white blossoms. The sweet scent of purple rockrose and the delicate aroma of white narcissus filled the air.

Eleazar tried to suppress the surge of excitement. He took a deep breath, inhaled the mix of nature, and looked ahead with anticipation. He knew this place, had eyed it from a distance. The miserable ones lived there. His mother’s warning came back to him. He would sacrifice his own family to help the forbidden ones.

The forbidden ones. A chill ran through him. He looked with trepidation at the row of caves. It was too late to turn back.

“Marian Rizzo’s The Leper is far more than just a simple, uncomplicated Bible story you’ve come to expect from Sunday School; all fluff and flannel graph with no soul, no danger, no depth,” declares New York Times bestselling author Paula K. Parker. “Instead, Rizzo imagines a first-century world where real human beings interact with real human motivations: greed, lust, distain, ambition. She crafts a main character with flaws—major flaws—making readers waffle between feeling sorry for Eleazar and truly disliking him. She paints the backdrop between the cosmopolitan melting-pot of Alexandria and first-century Jerusalem with a broad brush, bringing the City of David to life and populating it with the poor and rich; with pompous religious leaders and disdainful Romans; and with those who follow a popular new teacher reported to have miraculous powers. Ultimately, The Leper is a timeless tale of sin and consequences, of damaged people finding faith and redemption.”

About the Author

A Pulitzer Prize nominee in the field of journalism, Marian Rizzo has won numerous awards, including the New York Times Chairman’s Award and first place in the 2014 Amy Foundation Writing Awards. She worked for the Ocala Star-Banner newspaper for 30 years. She also has written articles for the Gazette, Ocala Style Magazine, and Billy Graham’s Decision Magazine.

Several of Marian’s novels have won awards at conferences and retreats. In 2018, her suspense novel, Muldovah, was a finalist in the Genesis competition at the American Christian Fiction Writers Conference.

Marian earned a bachelor’s degree in Bible education from Luther Rice Seminary. She trained for jungle missions with New Tribes (now ETHNOS 360), and she served for two semesters at a Youth With A Mission training center in Southern Spain. Several years ago, she made a trip to the Holy Land, a visit that provided much of the backdrop for this novel.

Marian lives in Ocala, Florida, with her daughter, Vicki, who has Down Syndrome. Her other daughter, Joanna, has blessed her with three wonderful grandchildren.

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