Wednesday, February 26, 2014

The Thief

Book Review

There have been many books written about the events that occurred during the week between Palm Sunday and Easter Sunday. I have just finished reading one that has affected me profoundly. The Thief by Stephanie Landsem, is book two in her Living Water series.
The story is written with the viewpoints of two very different protagonists. Nissa, is a poor Jewish woman and Longginus, a Roman centurion. Their parallel lives are inextricably linked and tell the story of the last days of Jesus in Jerusalem. In the end, their lives come together dramatically.
Landsem does many things well. First of all, this is an excellent story, meticulously researched and builds up to the climatic finish. I did not want to put the book down. Also, Landsem uses sensory rich prose to give the reader a view into the life of the underclass in Jerusalem. In Nissa’s neighborhood I could smell the vile odor from the tannery. I was able to feel Nissa’s hunger pangs. I could sense her exhaustion as she carried her heavy water pitcher home. The contrast with the lives of the elite religious class was striking. It gave me a new perception of the poor people that Jesus ministered to and the arrogant wealthy and uncaring religious scholars. The author also showed through the character of the Roman centurion how subjective the rules were for this class – how easy it was to fall out of favor. Longginus was a good man. He gave up everything for trying to do what was right.
Lansem also has been able to describe the suffering of Jesus in a way that has affected me forever. We become so accustomed to the story of Calvary and what Jesus has done for us. This book gave me a new gratefulness and a new understanding. I recommend this book to be read before Holy Week. It is a powerful story of redemption and it gave me a new appreciation for what Jesus did for me.
I received this book from the publisher in exchange for a review. All opinions expressed are my own.

About the Author

Longinus is a Roman centurion haunted by death and failure. Desperate to escape the accursed Judean province, he accepts a wager. If he can catch the thieves harassing the marketplace before Passover, he’ll earn a transfer away from the troublemaking Jews.

Nissa is a Jewish woman with a sharp tongue and no hope of marriage. Only with the help of Mouse, the best thief in Jerusalem, can she keep her blind brother, Cedron, fed and a roof over their heads.

When a controversial teacher miraculously heals Cedron, Longinus longs to learn more about the mysterious healer. Instead, his journey leads him to Nissa, whose secret will determine the course of both their futures.

Unexpectedly caught up in the arrest, trial, and crucifixion of Jesus, they wonder who this teacher is who heals others but does nothing to save himself. Is the mercy he offers in his teachings real, or just another false promise? Can Nissa and Longinus overcome their pasts to find a future free of their shackles?

The Thief is an evocative story of two people trapped in their circumstances and the life-changing power of forgiveness and love.

About the Author

Stephanie Landsem writes historical fiction because she loves adventure in far-off times and places. In real life, she’s explored ancient ruins, medieval castles, and majestic cathedrals around the world. Stephanie is equally happy at home in Minnesota with her husband, four children, and three fat cats. When she’s not writing, she’s feeding the ravenous horde, avoiding housework, and dreaming about her next adventure—whether it be in person or on the page.

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