By Ted Dekker
Genre: Historical Fiction
#1 in the A.D. 30 series
"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 his 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 that 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."
I'm usually leery about reading books with Jesus in them that aren't the Bible, since I believe the Bible is the primary way God reveals Himself to us. However, in A.D. 30, all the words Yeshua (Jesus) says are from the New Testament, except for some words he specifically to Maviah and another woman and some words he tells her in a dream. The way the reader is able to get into the people's heads and see their culture as close as possible without going to Israel helped me better understand the Jewish culture and see Jesus' words in a whole new light.
I was also surprised at the accuracy of it as well. Obviously it's fiction, and there was not a woman called Maviah who did all of the things in the novel, but there really was a suppression in Sepphoris by Varus and Aretas's army of Bedu, and other events and people that I can't say or it will give too much away. I love when authors use real events and people in their novels; sometimes real life is crazier than fiction.
Although I enjoyed the characters and plot, I couldn't get into this book very well. I wasn't very eager to read it, and I'm not sure why. Perhaps because the world wasn't truly new to me or because I longed to spend more time with Yeshua, and couldn't, or could just read the Scriptures to hear from Him. It was a good break from Dekker's sci-fi thrillers. He mastered this genre as well as those, if not better at times.
Due to all of this, I give this book a 3.5 and recommend it for 16 year olds and up.
What I learned: Everyone is precious to God. Forgiveness is more powerful than rage.