Margaret George's historical novels include Mary, Called Magdalene.
From her Q & A about the book at her publisher's website:
The Bible hardly mentions Mary Magdalene. What other primary sources did you turn to for information on this historical figure? How much did you rely on the Gnostic Gospels, specifically the Gospel of Mary?--Marshal Zeringue
Scanty though they are, the four canonical gospels remain our main source of information about Mary Magdalene. They recount her early possession by demons, her cure by Jesus, the fact that she was financially able to support Jesus's ministry, that she remained with him during the crucifixion, and, in coming to the tomb on Easter morning, became the first to see the risen Christ.
The Gospel of Mary, discovered in 1896, does not add any biographical information about her; it does stress her spiritual and visionary wisdom, her primacy among the disciples, and her closeness to Jesus. I wanted to bring these elements into the novel. They explain why she became so "famous" among the early Christians, which she certainly was.
Further details about her life appear in apocryphal writings in the fourth, fifth, sixth, and seventh centuries, but some of those facts are unreliable. She is also mentioned by church fathers in the early church, such as Irenaeus of Lyons, Tertullian, Origen, Pseudo-Clement of Rome, Augustine of Hippo, and Pope Gregory the Great.
How did you research the historical times in which this novel is set? Did you travel to the Middle East? If so, what was your experience there? Do you draw any parallels from the current violence in the Middle East to the conflict between the Romans and Jews at the time of Jesus?
Many excellent studies on the first-century world are available, and, in addition, I also did seven years of Bible study that covered sixty of the sixty-six books of the Bible.
I have traveled in Egypt, Syria, Jordan, and Turkey. I lived in Israel as...[read on]