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Book Review

Publisher's Note:

“Our brothers and sisters in Rome are being fed to the lions.” After the Great Fire of Rome in A. D. 64, the Emperor Nero places the blame on the Christians, a people whose faith in the crucified and risen Jesus Christ of Nazareth carries them through the worst of persecutions. In their home in Jerusalem, Jesse and his sister, Abigail, hear of the persecution in faraway Rome. Then suddenly it’s not so far away anymore. Jesse and Abigail’s parents are killed for their faith in a Roman Circus. After the death of their parents, Abigail clings to her faith in Christ. But Jesse is angry. He’s angry at the Romans and angry at God. More than anything, he wants revenge on the Romans, yet he feels helpless to do anything against them. Then one fateful day, Jesse and Abigail find themselves captives on their way to Rome. And what awaits them there? Slavery or death?…

Overall Book Review:

Jesse and Abigail are Jewish but they believe in the Messiah, Jesus Christ.  They live in a world controlled by the Romans and hostile to Christians.  Through all of life’s challenges, Jesse and Abigail’s parents have taught them that there is nowhere they can go that Jesus won’t be there with them.  Unfortunately, that truth and their faith is tested in ways they could never imagine.  Their journey takes them from Jerusalem to Rome.  As they face the wonders and atrocities they see in Rome, they have to decide if the faith of their parents is also their own faith.  Their aspirations and fears make them very relatable.  This fictional story pulls from history and gives the reader a glimpse into the life and times when Nero was Emperor and the Romans ruled the world.  It comes with maps, an excellent introduction, historical notes, a word glossary, Scripture references, discussion questions, and even recipes if you’re as adventurous as our heroes. 

I love Savannah McCrary’s style of writing.  It flows so smoothly like water in a creek that flows unhindered.  After listening to her own mother read books aloud, it’s Savannah’s hope that this would be a book that mothers could read aloud to their own children.  She has created a book that tells a tremendous story that needs to be passed on to the next generation and she’s written in a way that would be safe for a younger audience but still interesting to an older audience.  Savannah has a wonderful skill for writing and I can’t wait to read book two and continue Jesse and Abigail’s journey.  The ending is definitely set up for a continuation and will leave the reader anticipating book two.  Savannah has written at least three other books that are also excellent reads.

This book was sent to Compass Book Ratings for review by the Author

Content Analysis:

Profanity/Language:  None 

Violence/Gore:  Mention of Christians being persecuted and killed for sport, multiple mentions and some description in the book but not gory or detailed; a leader is being accused of burning a city and blaming it on the Christians; a man & woman were taken away and killed for sport, minor description of the event but not gory or bloody; the story of three men previously killed on crosses, mention of breaking their legs but no other descriptions; a young man fights soldiers, some knocked out, minor blood; a young man and woman were taken prisoner and are to be sold as slaves; fire breaks out on a ship, no mention of death or drowning; a man’s arm is burned, mention of blistering; a story of three men who were thrown into a fire but not hurt, mention of soldiers dying from the fire, not descriptive; a young girl is in prison; a young man remembers crucifixions and how some deserved to die but others were in the wrong place at the wrong time; a young man is chained and going to be taught to fight; a young woman is slapped on the face; the story of how Roman fathers had the right to leave their babies out to die because they were unwanted, not descriptive but emotional; in the historical reference section after the story: a reference to Christians being killed for sport, with specific examples but not detailed.

Sex/Nudity:  None

Mature Subject Matter:

Roman domination, socioeconomic conflicts, abducted & sold into slavery, murder of parents, Nero’s Circus & the resulting deaths, Gladiators, crucifixions, Jews, Christians, Roman gods, Roman soldiers, infanticide.

Alcohol / Drug Use:

A young man drinks wine to forget; people drink wine at a party.

Overall Book Rating

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About the Reviewer

Reading a good adventure story has always been a vacation in the theater of my mind. When I’m stressed or just need to get away for a few minutes, I love the opportunity to climb into somebody else’s world. I didn’t enjoy reading until I was in the Air Force and building bombs in Korea; it was a wonderful distraction from the real world. (I tried bull riding, but it wasn’t exciting enough.)