By Alyssa Roat | Echo
Starved for a book that is not a textbook, but still want to learn something? You might want to check out "The Keeper's Crown" by Nathan D. Maki.
Quintus always dreamt of winning the victor's crown. As the son of a general for Rome, it seemed within his grasp. But once his boyhood enemy Nero becomes emperor, he loses everything: his family, his fortune, his self-respect.
He becomes a man of war in the backwater, rebellious province of Judaea, fighting Zealots and navigating the precarious politics of the corrupt Roman governor and the plotting Sanhedrin. Still, he is determined to win glory and restore honor to his family, even if it means accidentally betraying Jael, the Jewess who saved his life.
When things go horribly wrong, Quintus is chained as a guard to the rabble-rousing Paul of Tarsus, spending his days babysitting the strange old man. All hope of a crown seems lost. But life with Paul is far less simple than Quintus could have imagined. The real adventure has just begun, and is leading him back to the most dangerous place in the empire: Rome itself, the lair of Nero.
The historical depth of this book is astounding. Readers will feel as if they are truly present in the wide variety of settings, from Rome, to Jerusalem, to rebel hideouts. The complexity and accuracy of the politics mixed with high-stakes battles will keep readers on the edge of their seats, while the interactions between characters will ring authentic, compelling and full of people to love and hate. The themes of redemption and forgiveness are powerful, though not a moment seems contrived, preaching or cliché. The book has everything, from intrigue, to war, to romance, to redemption. The five hundred pages will seem too few as the reader flies through the spellbinding pages to an ultimate breathtaking end.
Those who enjoy historical fiction, action, romance, church history or just a good story in general will be drawn to this book. It offers a fascinating glimpse into the life of the apostle Paul and the formation of the early church. The historical context greatly enhances understanding of issues addressed in the New Testament. Furthermore, redemption and decisions within the book are equally applicable to Christians today. And it doesn't use the word "flourishing" even once.