A MAGIC Leominster priest has penned his third book - and admits some will see it as a controversial read.

Mark Townsend says The Magician’s Tale is an attempt, by someone who has a love-hate relationship with the church, to restore the “magic of Jesus” at a troubled time for the Church of England.

“I have tried to portray Jesus as less of a religious figure and more of a user-friendly friend to humanity,” said Mark, who is both an ordained Church of England priest and a member of the magic circle.

“The book is an attempt to reclaim some of the long-lost magic of a Jesus we could actually like - a human being who comes with a sweet message of good news, unconditional love and hope for those who’ve been crushed by institutional religion,” he added.

“It is religious but is made up of 12 different stories from different perspectives - much more of a 21st century approach.

“It is a timely publication, what with the huge problems within the Church of England over gay issues, women bishops and other moral concerns.”

The book is to be launched officially at the end of the month. For more information visit magicofsoul.com