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Good storytelling in a historical fiction novel has a variety of character types that readers may relate to, recognize, admire, and grow to love or despise. The Mantle has six main characters in the past sections of the book, and the main heroic character in the past chapter sections is the Gospel writer, Saint John. John is the first person to experience the miraculous power of the mantle in our story. What we know about John is that he is the son of Zebedee and Salome, has an older brother, James, and lived in the time of Jesus with his family in a fishing village around Lake Galilee. Tradition tells us Salome and Mary, the mother of Jesus, share the same birth mother, Ann, meaning John and Jesus are cousins.

John is one of the first four Apostles called by Jesus, along with his brother John and two other brothers, Peter and Andrew. John was most likely born in Judea, near Jerusalem, perhaps in a fishing village near the Jordan River. Most scholars state John was a teenager when Jesus called him to be a “fisher of men.” Some scholars settled on the age of 17 as his calling, meaning he grew to adulthood during the three-year ministry of Jesus. John becomes part of the inner circle of Jesus, along with Peter and James. The Gospels tell us these three Apostles accompanied Jesus on a mountaintop and witnessed His transfiguration, as Jesus appeared with Moses and Elijah. Peter, James, and John also went with Jesus when He raised Jairus’ daughter from death. The Gospel of Mark also states that Jesus took Peter, James, and John when He prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane before His arrest and persecution. John does not refer to himself by name in his Gospel. He refers to himself as the “beloved disciple,” “the other disciple,” and “the one whom Jesus loved.” Jesus also sends Peter and John to prepare the Last Supper meal, and John is seated next to Jesus at the Last Supper.

In the most moving scene from the Gospels, at the crucifixion, Jesus asks John to care for His mother, Mary. After the death and resurrection of Jesus, John’s brother is killed by King Herod. At the urging of the disciples, John moves to Ephesus in Turkey, and Mary goes with him for safekeeping from the Romans. John became Bishop of this thriving Christian community where his preaching and miraculous act became renowned. Tradition states John is the only Apostle who died of natural causes around 100 years old, in Ephesus, and his body is buried beneath an ancient church. Most contemporary scholars believe John also wrote three short epistles or letters in the New Testament. Some scholars believe John wrote the Book of Revelation. However, most contemporary scholars believe the author of Revelation is most likely John of Patmos and not the evangelist.

The heroic character in the present chapters is Dr. John Mark Hopkins, a college dean and business professor who receives the mantle from his grandfather, who was a devout Episcopalian and Free Mason. John Mark had a loving relationship with his grandfather, Harrison, his father, Harrison George, and his son, John Luke. All four Hopkins have a prominent role in the The Mantle story. Harrison received the mantle from an elder Free Mason and used its powers to care for poor children. Harrison George, at the time of his death, passed down the mantle from his father to John Mark, while he never used the mantle in his own life. John Mark became the eleventh bearer of the mantle and used the miraculous powers of the mantle to overcome the scourge of drug addiction in modern society. After using the mantle for more than 12 years, John Mark asks Jesus about bequeathing the mantle to his son, Dr. John Luke Hopkins, in the final chapter of our story. The story of John Luke and the mantle is told in the sequel book titled Number 12.

Dr. Mark F. Hobson, Ph.D., is a well-known educator and ordained clergyman. With skills in education, religion, and business, he has been recognized for his considerable contributions to education and for his work on the Master of Business Administration degree at Southern New Hampshire University. Dr. Hobson’s groundbreaking neuroeducation study analyzes the deep relationship between religion and learning, providing insights published in prestigious higher education publications.

If you’ve been captivated by the heroic characters like Saint John and Dr. John Mark Hopkins in The Mantle, there’s more to discover. Dive deeper into their stories and the rich tapestry of history and faith that shapes their narratives. Visit Dr. Mark F. Hobson’s website at to explore the author’s work and delve into the heroic tales that bridge the past and present. Uncover the timeless wisdom hidden within the pages of The Mantle and its sequel, Number 12. The story of John Mark Hopkins and his son, John Luke Hopkins, is a compelling narrative you won’t want to miss.

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