A.D. 30: A Novel by Ted Dekker
Published Oct 28, 2014
Maviah is the daughter of a Bedouin (or Bedu as they are called in the book) shiekh, Rami bin Malik. She was exiled to Egypt after being born illegitimate, and sold into slavery. She has reluctantly come back to live in her father’s household after becoming pregnant out of wedlock. Despite the fact that the Bedu are traditionally nomadic people, her father has settled down in the city of Dumah. Rami’s wife, the niece of the Nabataean (Southern Jordan and Syria) King Aretas, is dying and in revenge, a rival Bedu tribe (authorized by King Aretas) has come and devastated the city of Dumah. Maviah is tasked with seeing King Herod and getting the support of the occupying Romans to get rid of the rival tribe and King Aretas, after offering the Bedouin trade route through the desert as compensation. She is accompanied by Saba, a powerful but silent black warrior and Judah, a Jewish Bedu. They have to journey through the perilous Nafoud desert to get to Sepphoris in Judea and the palace of King Herod. It is on this mission that Maviah first meets Jesus (called Yeshua in the book) and discovers his teachings, which will forever alter her life and thinking. 3-1/2 stars.
I was contacted by the author’s marketing department to review this book after they saw my review for Tosca Lee’s fabulous book The Legend of Sheba: Rise of a Queen. As I later discovered, Lee and Dekker had worked together on a book series. I looked at the book blurb and it looked fairly intriguing, so I said yes. The author, Ted Dekker, is known for his “Christian” fiction thrillers. I put Christian in quotes because I read an interview on the author and he doesn’t seem to think of them as Christian per se, but that is what they are labeled. I’m not a huge fan of Biblical Fiction, although I have enjoyed a few of those kind of books in the past. First off, I would like to say how much I liked that the author did his homework in relation to the historical events of the book and overall I enjoyed the story. I really liked Maviah’s story and especially (surprisingly for me, as I’m not very religious) enjoyed the parts relating to her musings on faith and what it means to be faithful, and how that connected with her role as woman and mother. However, the book majorly dragged in the beginning and middle sections, so much so that I several times wanted to stop reading but had promised to write a review and so had to continue. The beginning of the book was rather violent and a bit off-putting to be honest, then the book severely dragged when they were in the desert, then got interesting again at King Herod’s palace and her first meeting with Yeshua, then dragged again when she met King Aretas, and so forth. And then when I was really getting into the story at the end of the book, he suddenly ended it and there will be a sequel (entitled A.D.33). This made me a little upset because the book was already long and it wouldn’t have taken much to finish it up, and therefore not that many more pages, instead of a whole separate book. That is why the book earned 3-1/2 stars instead of 4.
Disclaimer: I received this advanced reader’s copy from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for my honest review.