First off I should start out with an apology for my 2 month hiatus. I was first suffering from writers block (yeah, we’ll call it that) and then when I did look at my blog again I realized that there was a serious problem. All the pictures had disappeared. Long story. I did figure it out, but then it took hours of work to repair it all. But now I’m back!
The book I want to talk about today isn’t really anything like I’ve reviewed before. I probably wouldn’t have even picked it up except that the author is a friend of mine. This is simply because it’s in a different genre than I typically gravitate toward, not because it looked bad. Now, before you discount everything I have to say about the book because you assume I’m only trying to give my friend's book a boost, consider that #1 He doesn’t know this blog exists, #2 I don’t have to tell him it does, and #3 I pride myself on being honest in my reviews.
So on to the review:
I have to say I was pleasantly surprised. I honestly expected to get bored. The reason being that it focuses so much on history, which has never been a favorite subject of mine. Just read the intro and you will realize that the characters are archeologists… I would have labeled that the most boring field of study ever and wrote off the book completely, if the aforementioned facts were not in place. Boy, am I glad I didn’t! These archeologists are great. Good character development – to the point I almost wished I could meet them and talk history. Trust me, this is saying A LOT since it takes a very special person to get me to follow a history lesson!
I also really liked the plot. This is a Christian novel that explores the idea: What if there were new findings that proved, in today’s science, that the resurrection of Jesus Christ is true? And this is where I get super honest. If you are not a Christian, in particular if you are an atheist, you might not like this book. I say this because it makes a very compelling case for why you should change your beliefs. This could be mentally stretching and good, or it could be very uncomfortable. Only you know how firm you are in your beliefs as to what you would like to consider.
On the other hand, if you are already a Christian you would hopefully, like me, enjoy that this explores the resurrection of Jesus from many different angles. Explaining in many different ways how there is just no way to have pulled off the hoax that so many claim the story is.
Another aspect I really liked in the writing was the shift from the modern story to the words of Pontius Pilate and back, then later to the communication between the various villains, government officials, etc. It was good writing in that you could clearly keep straight who is talking and what is going on and in a way expanded the 3rd person omniscient POV to a more believable realm. Many times this particular POV is hard to follow because it doesn’t seem that we should know every facet of the story, but Smith pulls it off very well.
Back to the characters, I have to say I really liked the love story. It was a bit of a whirlwind romance in how fast Josh and Isabella fell for each other, but it fit them. They are passionate people so it only makes sense that when they fall in love it will be a passionate relationship. But they aren’t the only interesting characters in the story.
Giuseppe is such a wonderful old guy. I absolutely adore him. Sort of the father figure of the group, his story really fascinates me. Then there is Father MacDonald, I love his wit and the way he thinks. I especially love how bringing him in allowed for debates between not only atheists and Christians, but also Catholics and Protestants. It brought in such a real level of respect for all people. To read the thoughts and feelings of so many different people was nice.
For all his obvious Christian beliefs Smith never ridicules atheists (or any belief system for that matter). He simply uses the characters’ beliefs to allow for good debate and conversations between the different viewpoints. Of course his personal beliefs are the ones to shine in these conversations, but that is to be expected.
Overall this is definitely a book I would recommend. It was well written and moving. In fact I’m not ashamed to admit I cried in more than one place. I thoroughly enjoyed staying up until all hours of the night to finish it… who knew history could be so captivating? Oh, yeah, a History teacher like Lewis Smith!