I’m a huge fan of Christian historical fiction and I’m usually game for trying new authors. This is my first time reading a Tracy L. Higley novel and I was hooked from the first chapter.
The story opens with the burning of the temple in Jerusalem and quickly fast-forwards several years. The young Jewish girl introduced at the beginning has been enslaved by a hideous senator in Rome. She is able to escape by pretending to be a male gladiator. While she is still enslaved in this life, it is better than the treatment she received by her other master. As the story unfolds she is introduced to a kind Roman who increasingly dislikes the incessant lust and violence pervading the culture and chooses to fight against it in the political realm.
It is set in the final days before Pompeii’s destruction. I very much enjoyed following their spiritual journey as they encounter Christians and the early church. It was a different view of this time than I have seen before.
I was also struck by how much the Roman culture mimics our own today. The insatiable desires for things which go against God’s Word is unmistakable throughout the novel and I could not help but compare it to our on society.
This is my first opportunity to read a novel by this author, but I am certain it will not be my last. The character development was fantastic as was the intertwining of historical facts. I appreciated that I learned a lot without feeling like I was reading a history book. The plot took unexpected turns which kept me turning pages.
I also liked how the feeling of impending doom from the volcano was included as an aside from the story. The parallel between the citizens physical fate and their spiritual fate is beautifully implied and left me feeling so sad for those who died without knowing Christ. It also urges me to share the gospel more with those around me who don’t know the truth of where saving faith really comes from.
I highly recommend this book even if you don’t typically read this genre. Although I love historical fiction, this particular period has never interested me before. Now I’m very intrigued and interested to know more. I would strongly suggest this for adults only because of some of the intensity of the content and implied actions of the Romans.
Disclosure: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze.com® <http://BookSneeze.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.