Magi Apprentice


From seasoned author Dan E. Hendrickson comes his eighth novel and his first based on Christianity, entitled Magi Apprentice. This book is the story of Rassan, a Parthian calvary cadet who is tasked with protecting the sacred star charts, delivering them to Babylon, and deciphering what they mean in relation to the birth of Jesus Christ.

The story begins in 7 B.C. as Rassan finds a destroyed caravan and a dying Magi. Before the Magi dies, an angel appears to him and instructs him to entrust Rassan with the sacred star charts that have been passed down from the first Magi Grandmaster Belshazzar. Rassan is commanded to protect these star charts at all costs and deliver them to Babylon to give to the new headmaster of the astronomical sect of the Magi.

Rassan then begins his apprenticeship under Headmaster Daraya-Vous as they work together to learn the significance of the series of astronomical configurations that occurred between 3 and 2 B.C. As Rassan is apprenticing under Headmaster Daraya-Vous, he begins taking an interest in Varaz, a priestess he meets in the market where she falsely presents herself as a merchant’s assistant. Rassan finds all his conversations with her incredibly stimulating, and he has to ask himself why he is so motivated to see and talk to her every day. The obvious answer comes to him almost immediately: that he is ready to take Varaz as his wife and needs to go about doing so the proper way. After speaking with General Bozan, his cousin and the temporary head of his family, General Bozan’s wife, and Headmaster Daraya-Vous about his wishes to seek a betrothal with Varaz, General Bozan agrees to draft a letter to Prince Phraates V detailing the situation and then to inquire with Varaz’s family regarding the conditions of the betrothal. However, the situation becomes complicated when Rassan learns that Varaz has not yet left the Temple and is still a priestess, which means that she cannot be married. After this deception by Varaz, Rassan has some big decisions to make regarding his studies and the woman he loves.

One of the highlights of the story is following along as Rassan prepares for a historical debate to clarify the true meaning of the zodiac and the divine message it conveys. Rassan will be presenting an argument that he learned from studying the sacred star charts passed down from the first Magi Grandmaster Belshazzar regarding the coming of the champion and savior, who will come to save the world. After Rassan’s presentation, it is clear that he has won over the judges and the majority of the audience members to his way of thinking. What follows is an epic pilgrimage to witness what is perhaps the greatest event in all of history.

Hendrickson’s story of the Magi finding Jesus in Bethlehem after his birth is historical fiction writing at its best. Hendrickson includes real-life historical figures, such as Prince Phraates V and Herod the Great while also creating believable characters to add to the story, such as Rassan and Varaz. He then interweaves an intricate, detailed narrative that seamlessly integrates his cast of characters while also keeping true to historical facts. History buffs, especially those with an interest in Christianity, will greatly appreciate Magi Apprentice.

It was also interesting that, as a reader who knew how this story would end, I still found myself anxiously awaiting the conclusion. The way Hendrickson brings it to a close brought chills down my spine as I read Rassan’s words when asked how he was feeling when the quest was about to be completed. The author did a superb job of painting a vivid picture for the reader during this epic, monumental conclusion.

Quill says: With Magi Apprentice, Hendrickson has written a historical fiction account of how the Magi found Jesus in Bethlehem that simply cannot be matched. This story has everything a reader could want in historical fiction: facts, historical figures, romance, and relatable characters, all culminating in an epic conclusion.

Katie Specht

Feathered Quill

Rassan is a military officer in the Parthian army when his path crosses with a dying member of an important Magi Order. This divinely destined encounter sets the young man on a journey to discover the Creator's plans and the birth of a prophesied champion. While Rassan has never studied the stars, his new path will show him the way of the Bright and Morning Star that will lead him to places he never imagined. But only as long as the power of good triumphs over the evil forces working against him.


Join Rassan's adventure of discovery in Magi Apprentice by Dan E. Hendrickson. In this historical fiction novel, I loved Hendrickson's ability to create a riveting story surrounding the Eastern Magi depicted in the Bible. While scriptures make only the briefest mention of them, there is a whole history surrounding their existence and the political climate in the Middle East during the years leading up to the birth of Jesus Christ. This author brought his extensive research to life in an engaging story that kept me cheering on Rassan and his allies as the sinister enemies opposing him continued to deceive and manipulate. Hendrickson writes an excellent set of villains, and the struggles they force on Rassan make his story that much more powerful. I loved watching him learn to endure and overcome as he pursued God's plans for his life.


I also enjoyed the astronomical aspect of this novel. Going into this book, I had not realized how much the study of the stars played into Biblical events. It was fascinating to see how the enemies of God fought to corrupt the messages in the stars through alternative interpretations of the alignments despite the Hebrew records created by the prophet Daniel (also known as Belshazzar in Persia). I enjoyed navigating the politics of this era and learning how difficult it would have been for this group of religious astronomers to embark on the perilous journey to find the promised Messiah during the rivalries and tensions of the time.


There was nothing that I disliked about the novel. Hendrickson provided an informative account that helped the reader understand the historical, cultural, and political climate of the final decade in the BC era and shared it in a fascinating story. The author completed another round of revisions, correcting the previously listed errors, and I found no additional typos. Therefore, I gladly give Magi Apprentice five out of five stars.


I'd highly recommend this book to readers who enjoy Biblical historical fiction. Readers who would like to learn about how Daniel's contributions to astronomy would have helped the Eastern Magi find the Messiah generations after his death should find something to enjoy. The book involves action, adventure, romance, and a healthy dose of political intrigue. While there are a few minor instances of swearing and allusions to the duties of the priestesses in service to the goddess Zarpanuta, there is no erotic content. This book certainly brings new light to the backstory of the wise men who traveled so far to bring gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh to the child born in a manger.

Online Book Club

A narrative clash of mysticism, science, geopolitics, and biblical lore, Magi Apprentice by Dan E. Hendrickson is a unique piece of historical fiction, exploring the religious sects, governments, and individuals who likely played a part in the star-driven journey to the birthplace of Jesus.

Rassan is a young military officer and friend to Prince Phraates, heir to the Parthian Empire. When a rogue magi embarks on a secret pilgrimage to Jerusalem, through Parthian lands, Rassan is sent to meet him on the road, only to find that his caravan has been attacked by bandits. The magi’s final wish sends Rassan on a quest as an emissary to Babylon with 600-year-old sacred star charts in hand. However, numerous schemers and magicians in the Parthian court would prefer to see his mission fail, and set plans in motion to undermine his task.

Studying under the strictest sect of magi in the land, Rassan learns a great deal from Headmaster Daraya-Vous, along with his precocious assistant, Arsam, they begin to decipher the ancient star charts, tracking the mysterious arrival of one who would save the world. Even as the signs and stars begin to align for Rassan’s role in this long-awaited arrival, conspirators from the past threaten not only Rassan’s safety on his fated journey to Israel, but the stability of the entire Parthian Empire.

To create a piece of historical fiction with this much depth, a great amount of research was clearly required, both of the biblical source material itself and other analyses of the relevant historical and spiritual events. The author’s familiarity with the time period, political landscape, cultural norms, alliances, loyalties, significant figures, and even astronomy helps create an immersive and riveting novel that goes far beyond a Christian nativity prequel. There are philosophical and mystical elements scattered throughout the prose as well, but unlike dogmatic religious parables or works of Christian fiction, this story does not shy away from the ideological and spiritual differences that existed at that time, across different cultures, geographies, and histories.

The language Hendrickson chooses is just as critical to authentic storytelling, and he has a patient yet keenly descriptive eye for setting and character, which leads readers eagerly through this winding tale. This is especially apparent in the crafting of his lead character, who so clearly represents the volatility of the period. Magic and science held even footing in those times, and while Rassan has the logical mind of a scholar, he is also a devout believer in the unknown, making him an ideal protagonist at the heart of the novel.

This is an enthralling read; whether you are a fan of astrology signs and the zodiac, a religious scholar, a history buff, or someone who simply enjoys character-driven drama, Hendrickson delivers an original experience in this richly rewarding biblical backstory.

Self Publishing Review

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Born in Sheridan Wyoming in 1962 near the rustic Big Horn mountain range, to Carl and Helen Hendrickson. Dan went to school in…


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