NOTE: The Kindle Book Review received a free copy of this book for an independent, fair, and honest review. We are not associated with the author or Amazon.
Like many of those who wandered away from Christianity, I am fascinated by any close examination of the life and times of Yeshua bar Miriam. This well-researched, sprawling historical novel (and yes, it is required to describe historical novels over a certain length as “sprawling”) aims to put the reader deeply in first-century Palestine and Rome, when people first came to debate among themselves what Yeshua was.
The hero, Jacob, begins as the weakest point in the novel. He is too much of an Everyman, too eager to fight for the right at every turning point in the dark history of Jerusalem’s revolt against Rome, and too easily taken to the bosom of major historical figures.
Nonetheless, the pace picks up considerably when Jacob stumbles across the story of Jesus as the Christ. Then the novel offers a fascinating rendering of life with the Essenes and with pre-Islamic Bedouins, and becomes a much more compelling read. The novel’s theory of the “invention” of Christianity as a syncretic, Hellenized religion is thoroughly plausible. I recommend this read as a primer or a companion primer for those with an interest in the birth of Christianity.