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  • Wonderful "early church" historical!

    This was a wonderful novel taking place during the time of the early church in Rome. While this is the 9th book in this series, this is the first I've read and the story stood alone. There were times when I felt like I should know more about some characters who were referenced (and I would if I'd read prior books), but enough history was given in this book that I did not feel lost at all. I will, however, go back and read the prior books now! This book follows Matti, a recently converted Christian and prior gladiator, who is making his way to Thessalonica where he can find the church of Aristarchus and learn more about Jesus. Along the way, he rescues a Roman woman named Felicia from the hand of robbers and helps her seek safe passage as well. The first half of the book chronicles their journey to Thessalonica and is very character driven. It was beautiful to see how Matti showed a young slave boy with a club foot that he had value in the eyes of God. Once they reach Thessalonica, the danger to Felicia is not yet passed and their motley crew must rely on the hospitality of the Christians there. This book was a great introduction to the early church - house churches, and how they practiced love and hospitality. I enjoyed the way that Matti spoke about Jesus and what it meant to follow Him. This book had a very strong faith thread. The characters in this book were all likable (other than maybe Falco), and I enjoyed seeing their growth as the story went on. Because Felicia's life was in danger, there was an element of suspense to the novel as well, and some mystery as they fleshed out what happened in their pasts. There was also a bit of a romance as well, and while I felt that moved a BIT fast, I understood it for the sake of the story. My only complaints in this one was when one's full Roman name was listed as their names were long and confusing - but that is not the fault of the author! I also found the church service that Matti first attended in Thessalonica to have a more "modern" feel to it, and that drew me out of the story just a little bit, but overall, this was an excellent novel and one I'd highly recommend to fans of Christian historical fiction. I also enjoyed the historical notes at the end that spoke to the Roman culture and the research done by the author, and how those pieces wove into the story. I would recommend reading those at the end as well! Special thanks to the author for an advance e-copy of this book. I was under no obligation to provide a review and the thoughts contained herein are my own.

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  • Wonderful adventure stories

    Another good adventure story. I especially love learning more of Roman history including things like marriage laws, citizenship. It was a dangerous thing to be a Christian and yet they increased because each lived out their faith and loved others, prayed for them and told them the good news. Just like we can still do today.

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