February 24, 2016


I am looking forward to seeing Risen, the motion picture, when it is released. As I read, I couldn’t help but imagine it on the screen. Especially after recently re-watching Mel Gibson’s, The Passion of Christ. Risen takes up where Gibson’s movie leaves us—with those people in search of tangible answers, and those who witness the risen Christ.

Risen, by Angela Hunt, is a beautiful telling of the questions, fears, and beliefs that came after Christ’s crucifixion. What makes it so unique is that the story is told from two conflicting first-person perspectives: Clavius, a Roman Tribune, and a Jewish widow, Rachel.

Clavius investigates the disappearance of Jesus’ body after his crucifixion, and furthermore, the rumors of him rising from the dead. His regimented personality lifts off the page, and his determination as an unbeliever is both felt and understood.

I held up my hand, silencing my overeager beneficiarii, and looked at the unmoving body on the center stake. “The Nazarene—obviously dead.” (Clavius, excerpt)

Though the story seems to focus more on the strong-willed Roman’s quest for the truth, I was especially drawn in by simple and tender Rachel, the Jewish bread maker, and her views of the world.

I saw him on the road—he fell right in front of me. He looked at me, and though I do not know much about such things, I do not understand how a rabbi can end up on an execution stake. I followed him to the place of the skull, but left when he sent his mother away. (Rachel, excerpt)

The only reason I didn’t give this a five-star rating is that I found myself wanting things to ‘move-along’ in a sense, some parts so detailed they felt belabored. I resisted skipping pages, but the thought popped in my mind several times.

Overall, this is a powerful story told from unique yet just as potent perspectives. It leaves me moved, satisfied, and changed.

4 Stars

Cover: Like
Title: Love
Publisher: Bethany House
Pages: 320
Pace: Slow/Steady
First Lines (Chapter 1): Under Tiberius Caesar, Rome’s armies controlled a vat empire—from Britannia in the north to Aegyptus in the south, from Mauritania Tingitana in the west to Mesopotamia in the east. But not post was less desired than the wasteland of Judea.

I received a Review Copy from the publisher.

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