Title: A.D. 30
Author: Ted Dekker
Genre: Christian fiction, historical fiction
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Received from publisher
A sweeping epic set in the harsh deserts of Arabia and ancient Palestine.
A war that rages between kingdoms on the earth and in the heart.
The harrowing journey of the woman at the center of it all.
Step back in time to the year of our Lord...A.D. 30.
The outcast daughter of one of the most powerful Bedouin sheikhs in Arabia, Maviah is called on to protect the very people who rejected her. When their enemies launch a sudden attack with devastating consequences, Maviah escapes with the help of two of her father's warriors--Saba who speaks more with is sword than his voice and Judah, a Jew who comes from a tribe that can read the stars. Their journey will be fraught with terrible danger. If they can survive the vast forbidding sands of a desert that is deadly to most, they will reach a brutal world subjugated by kings and emperors. There Maviah must secure an unlikely alliance with King Herod of the Jews.
But Maviah's path leads her unexpectedly to another man. An enigmatic teacher who speaks of a way in this life which offers greater power than any kingdom. His name is Yeshua, and his words turn everything known on its head. Though following him may present even greater danger, his may be the only way for Maviah to save her people--and herself.
Ahh more Ted Dekker! This book was vastly different from anything else Ted Dekker has written, so I was excited to see how it turned out. You guys know how much I love my Biblical fiction, so I couldn't wait to see how my favorite Christian fiction author did with it. And it was amazing.
The first thing that struck me was how well researched this was. To know the culture and customs of Maviah's Arabian tribe, as well as the Jews and the Romans, it's a lot to know. Yet it the differences between the different groups of people were so clear. I have always admired the amount of detail Dekker puts in his stories, making you really understand and feel what it's like. From the buildings to the people to the road, everything is described so well that you aren't confused. There was a lot of traveling in this book, but Dekker made sure that each place was different enough.
Maviah was an interesting character. She was born the illegitimate daughter of the sheikh, sold in slavery, and was sent back home with a illegitimate son. All things to bring even more shame in a time when just being born a woman is shameful. But through it all, she is strong. Sure, there are moments when she doesn't think so, but I admired her. She was born in a time when women were oppressed, and although she was outspoken and more vocal than other women, she also knew when to step back and act submissive. She was smart, and cunning, and made for an interesting character.
I will say, the other characters weren't too memorable. All the kings and queens seemed the same. Repeats of the same characters, almost. The politics that were involved did confuse me some, and I found myself skimming when it came to parts like that. Saba and Judah were more fleshed out, but I would have liked to see more from them. I will say, I like how he didn't try to "mortalize" Jesus. The words that He said were always direct quotes from the Scripture, which was interesting, but also kept Him true.
The book does focus quite a bit on Jesus's teachings and the Scriptures. Judah is a Jew who wants nothing more than to meet his Yeshua. Meviah is a Gentile, "unclean" by the Jewish standards. Yet, Jesus came for the Jews and the Gentiles, and this really illustrated the differences in how His teachings were perceived by the different groups. Dekker brings a lot to think about, and points out Scriptures in new ways that will make you think about them and how you are really applying them to your life.
This was a fascinating book. It was fast-paced and such an interesting story. But although fictional, it was also filled with eye-opening truths. It was a great read, one that I would definitely recommend.
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