This Dark Heart

This Dark Heart

By Christa Laird

Publication Date: 28 Oct 2022


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Categories: Historical, Religion and Beliefs, Young Adult

ISBN: 9781915122735


The last years of King Herod the Great’s reign are turbulent, the public splendour of his many architectural projects belying the rotten core of his private life. His extended family is riven with jealousy, suspicion and hatred. Into this dangerous environment Simon, the only son of one of King Herod’s favoured bodyguards, who cherishes an ambition to become an architect instead of following in his father’s footsteps, is inexorably drawn.

Scholars and others may disagree about whether the Massacre of the Innocents actually happened, but it is nevertheless a story that has resounded down the ages and been depicted in countless artistic media.

The flight of Mary and Joseph and their baby son into Egypt to escape the slaughter is also a familiar part of the Christmas story. But who warned them, and why? What risks were taken, and what sacrifices made by those who did?

Every story has many and often apparently remote beginnings. Perhaps This Dark Heart can suggest one such.


Christa Laird is intrigued by unusual perspectives on well-known stories or historically significant events which have been portrayed repeatedly through the generations. She likes to imagine the lives of unnamed individuals caught up in these events and to help them emerge from the shadows. Christa lives in Oxford with her husband, as do her two sons, their wives and her five grandchildren. This Dark Heart is her fifth novel.


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