Publisher's Note:  

Inspired to build a tomb fit for a king, Joseph of Arimathea completes the task just days before Passover. But when Joseph risks everything for the life of one man, the tomb plays an even more important role than he had ever anticipated. Set in the time of the Savior's ministry, this touching story of love and sacrifice is the perfect reminder to trust God in all circumstances.

This book was sent to Compass Book Ratings for review by Cedar Fort

The Tomb Builder

by E. James Harrison

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Overall Review:  

‘The Tomb Builder’ is a beautiful and moving historical fiction about a man who played a great part in the final days of the Savior, but is barely even mentioned in the Bible:  Joseph of Arimathea.  This novel explores a small section of his life and we are able to glimpse some “What if?”s.  Joseph was a member of the Sanhedrin; a powerful and rich man in the community; married with children.  What happened to him when he offered his own personal tomb to bury someone who had caused so much uproar amongst the Jews and his brethren of the Sanhedrin?  And why did he do it in the first place?  How did his wife and family react?  We see amazing miracles surrounding the inspiration and execution of the tomb itself—both Joseph and his wife feeling the need to build a tomb—but why?  The stone hewer even talks of the religious experience of his work on the tomb fit for a King.  Joseph announces his faith to the Sanhedrin and is now under the ire of the evil chief judge Caiaphas.  Caiaphas plans to completely destroy Joseph in a Job-like way after dealing with Jesus.  It was so interesting to hear the inner debates, plans and conflicts amongst the Sanhedrin and why they did what they did.  It was all about power and money, of course, but to ‘listen in’ on the conversations put these scriptural events on a new personal level.  I felt for Joseph as he struggled with his newfound faith and the lack of understanding from so many close friends and family.  I cried at the scene of the crucifixion and again as they prepared the body for burial.  Thankfully, right prevails and it is proven once again that good will always come to those who hold true to their beliefs, even under the most dire of circumstances.  A lovely work of fiction that will make you wonder about this man and want to know more!

Content Analysis:  

Since this novel is based around the crucifixion of Jesus, there is a lot of violence and anger.  However, the author deals with it very well.  It is told in a way that you feel it intensely, but it is not overly shocking or graphic.  There were two somewhat intense scenes of violence—both having to do with the crucifixion itself—but they were reverently told while still getting the point across. 

Mature Subject Matter:  

The themes are many and include political unrest, greed, deceit, anger, ruthlessness, miracles, death, questions of belief, and the consequences of decisions to follow (or not).  The writing almost hints at a younger age group and really is well done.

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Reviewed By Emily
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