They call her the Queen of the Outcasts. Maviah, a woman whose fate was sealed on her birth by this world-unwanted, illegitimate, female, a slave-subject to the whims of all. But then she met a man named Yeshua who opened her eyes. She found strength in his words, peace from the brutal word around her. Because of what he taught her, she has gathered her own traveling kingdom of outcasts deep in the desert, wielding an authority few have seen. But when her growing power threatens the rulers around her, they set out to crush all she loves, leaving her reeling as a slave once more. She must find Yeshua to save her people, but when she does, she will be horrified to discover that he faces his own death.
“A.D. 33” is the sequel to Ted Dekker's amazing (in my opinion) book “A.D. 30” and continues the journey of Maviah. Part of the magic of these two books is experiencing the life of Yeshua (aka Jesus) through non-Jewish characters. Because of this, our main characters know little of Jewish tradition; thus, seeing their interpretation of Jesus’ words and actions, as they are people who have not been around the Bible all their lives but instead are hearing the stories for the first time, gives a new focus to these powerful events.
The beginning started out a little rocky. *SPOILERS FOLLOW* // I think Talya’s presence was unclear for too long. It would have been nice to have a character remember the moment where they rescued Talya and then chose to adopt him. I kept thinking, “is this Maviah’s and Judah’s child” even though he was too old to be such a child. // *SPOILERS END* I think the first few chapters had a few too many gaps left unfilled between 30 & 33.
There was no predictability in this storyline other than how Jesus’ life leading up to the crucifixion would unfold. There were huge emotional moments the characters suffered through. Their thoughts and viewpoints were so well detailed by Dekker. It was like he reached into your heart and squeezed each and every emotion out of the reader as well as his characters. His narration is intense and immersive. *SPOILERS FOLLOW* // I was especially saddened by Judah’s death. That totally caught me off guard. I felt lost without him throughout the story. Saba is wonderful, but I did not quite fall into the Saba-Maviah romance as much as I did Judah-Maviah in the first book. I think there was a lot of potential to experience Jesus’ death through Judah’s eyes. It would have been very challenging for Judah but also quite rewarding. // *SPOILERS END*
There are some deep spiritual moments in the book as you realize new truths in Jesus’ message through Maviah’s thoughts and actions. As she learns to trust, so too does the reader learn to trust through some very dire situations. There are times when she is powerless to change the course of events through action, and it is only through her trust in her new identity in Jesus that she can overcome the obstacles before her and thus help others overcome their fears. The ending was truly about letting go of the physical world (our false ‘god/master’) and surrendering to the Way of Yeshua. I loved how the last chapter of narration was experienced through Talya’s eyes, the eyes of a child, as he overcame his fears and found Eden living within himself. Faith is not an easy thing and our knowledge of good and evil blinds us often to it, but there is hope and new life through Jesus as experienced by Dekker’s characters.
Dekker is able to pull quotes and moments of Jesus’ life from the Bible and recast them over his characters. In this way, he shines a light over “the everyman/woman” out there. In the end, this book is EMPOWERING. It’s eye-opening, heart-wrenching, spiritually-uplifting, but mostly empowering.
Wow. I want to experience more of this world and these characters!!! Is there an AD 36 in the works?
"Descendants of Avalon"
Released via Inklings Publishing
("The Forgotten" volume 2)
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