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. 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.
Mr. Dekker's prose is so musical! It’s beautiful, fluid, and dynamic. The ideas
continue to build throughout the story, so it’s hard to just quote just a line or two from the book because the ideas compound and become more meaningful and powerful as they grow. Like a classical
music score, you appreciate the final moments more because of the beginning notes at the start of the piece.
The entire journey in this book is unexpected. The characters are well-written and complement each other. The different societies you come upon bring fresh perspectives to the beliefs and cultures of the time as well as different ways to interpret Jesus’ message. Maviah is from a culture, with a similar Jewish belief, that women are born into shame simply because they are women. She is also an unwanted daughter born out of wedlock to a lowly mother and shipped off by her father to be an Egyptian slave for most of her life. So her self-esteem as well as her father-daughter relationship are already at an all-time low. Then she meets Jesus who speaks about the heavenly Father. While you may know Jesus’ ministry, the personal depths the author guides you in via Maviah and her entourage are simply wonder-filled. Jesus blessed many women in his ministry, but it’s hard to appreciate how much Jesus helped women unless you understand how low their station in society was.
Ancient historical fiction is my favorite. Mr. Dekker does a great job bringing this world to life. From the way houses are built in Nazareth to the roads the travelers walk on to the colors in Herod’s palace, there is so much fine detail that brings the grit and majesty of this world to life. There is also such emotion felt within the pages of the story. Maviah goes through the wringer. Her reactions to moments are appropriate and enduring. I enjoyed making this trip through Arabia and into Palestine with her.
One note: The author's main character is a woman who stops breastfeeding and takes up a long journey. However, the author does not realize that when you stop breastfeed, the process is painful. His character would be feeling a lot of pressure and discomfort for the first couple days. This is never taken into account. Stopping your milk sucks: its painful & its messy. She would have been soaking through her clothing for a day or two.
One thing I would have liked: Jesus giving Maviah some comfort about what happened to her son when he is teaching her about letting things go and trusting in God. He addressed many aspects of her life, but a “your son is in a better place” or some acknowledgement about her profound and sudden loss would have helped me, as a mother, with closure for the character.
A truly gorgeous and thought-provoking novel with incredibly inspiring and engaging prose. I loved the conversations between Maviah and the followers of Jesus. There were so many good questions and answers. The last few chapters of Maviah finding her path to faith are a perfect climax to her journey (thus far, that is, as Mr. Dekker clearly states that this is only half the journey). It’s a fast-paced, tightly woven story of hope and healing through faith. I am very excited for AD 33!
Just released December 2016: "The Forgotten" volume 2 "Heir of the Heretic"
Reviewed and awarded the
2016 Indie Editor's Choice
by the Historical Novel Society.
Long listed for the Historical Novel Society 2017 Indie Award.
Goodreads profile at: https://www.goodreads.com/JElse