"They say their prophet, Zarathustra, was born into the world laughing"

The prophet Zarathustra (also known as Zoroaster) founded Zoroastrianism  around 3,500 years ago , and between 600 BCE and 650 CE, it was the official religion of Persia (Iran). It posits an ongoing battle between good and evil and encourages its adherents in 'good thoughts, good words and good deeds.' Fire is sacred, representing the light and wisdom of God (Ahura Mazda, the Wise Lord). It seems that Zoroastrianism has strongly influenced both Judaism and Christianity, and many scholars now believe that the three magi of the Christian gospel nativity story were Zoroastrian priests. The author believes that the story of Tobias and the angel derives from Zoroastrianism, one reason for this being the presence of the dog. Dogs were generally regarded as unclean in Judaism, but in Zoroastrianism they were important, and were considered to lead the soul, at death, to the other world. The author has written about Zoroastrianism and the Book of Tobit in Author's Note at the end of the novel. (p.340-342)