Helen Delaney is in a railway book store, inconsolable and suicidal after the death of her son. A book at eye level catches her attention. She touches it, and it falls off the shelf, into her hand. It is a set of instructions on how to connect with a spirit guide. Thus begins The Messenger, the true, intimate story of a grieving mother, a gifted medium, and the spirit guide, Lukhamen, who keeps her alive by recounting the story of his life. It is 214 AD, and the Egyptian city of Luxor is ruled by Rome. The last vestiges of Egypt’s glorious past are discernable in the deteriorating temple dedicated to the god Amon, and its high priest, Lukhamen’s father. A Roman centurion, hopelessly in love with the wife of the high priest, becomes governor. A sadistic Roman underling seeks to unseat him, while lepers and beleaguered Christians struggle to survive in this unprecedented account of the end of an era. Above it all, and against the tide of history, Lukhamen, nine years old when the story begins, is expected to be the next high priest, and a light unto his people. The author duly records Lukhamen’s memories, barely noticing that a healing has begun. By chance, she is sent to Cairo on business. From there, it is a short trip to Luxor, where an internal, unerring compass leads her to the places Lukhamen has imprinted upon her consciousness: the river road, the temple of Amon, a garden two thousand years old, and a Christian church, hidden by time.
There, in the ancient city of Luxor, flooded with memories and emotion, one thing becomes clear: she has been there before.