At last, the final novel in Ed Lewis’s Seeds of Christianity series has been released, and it’s well worth the wait. A fitting conclusion to this well-researched and deeply intriguing set of novels, Martyr creates a wholly plausible and enthralling picture of ancient Rome in the time of the first Christians. Favorite characters from earlier tales undertake the perilous journey by sea from Antioch while waves crash and timbers creak. Filled with the sights and smells of ocean and harbor, the hustle and bustle of market and the curious wonder of ancient feastday and procession, the novel’s worth reading just for this.
Soon the family reaches Rome, where characters cope with trials and tribulations of decrepit buildings and corporate greed. History comes alive with real people in situations not so different from those of today. The obnoxious woman next door annoys. The Christian heroine forgives. And the rest of the Christians think she’s just as mad as they would in the present day. A church united by faith threatens to splinter under pressure. And a world united by powerful subjugation begins to fall apart.
The horror of a city in flames, the panicked flight of civilians, the madness of a fallen emperor, it’s all in here, well-researched, beautifully portrayed, and even illustrated with truly engaging pictures at the end of each chapter. Did you know what an ancient amphora looked like or what it was used for?
The author uses (and explains in his notes) just the right amount of poetic license to bring the familiar and unfamiliar of this time and its people into focus. History, geography, science and Bible research combine convincingly. The whole makes beautiful, tragic sense, setting the scene for the present day in well-drawn visions from the past, and building up to an awesome conclusion for a series of awesome scope. I almost wish it wasn’t over, and I’m ready to start reading Witness again and repeat the whole journey.
Disclosure: The author sent me a free ecopy in exchange for my honest review, and I can only count myself blessed to have had the chance to read all four of these books.