Customer Reviews for

The Last Disciple

Average Rating 4.5
( 30 )
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Most Helpful Favorable Review

3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

I didn't realize before reading The Last Disciple that this seri

I didn't realize before reading The Last Disciple that this series was essentially written to offer an alternate perspective on The Left Behind series. This is a view that I lean towards based on my understanding of Scripture, and The Last Disciple offered further insi...
I didn't realize before reading The Last Disciple that this series was essentially written to offer an alternate perspective on The Left Behind series. This is a view that I lean towards based on my understanding of Scripture, and The Last Disciple offered further insight into how this view fits with the book of Revelation. Primarily, however, this suspenseful read encouraged me to be bolder in my faith and to recognize how blessed I am to be able to worship freely. I would highly recommend this book for greater insight on early Christianity and for a strengthening of one's faith. However, I would warn readers of two things: (1) this book is at times very hard to read because of the horrors of Nero's reign that are portrayed (it is definitely not suitable for children or young teens) and (2) the story ends abruptly, meaning you will need to the read the next two books to find any kind of conclusion (I am currently halfway through the second book).

posted by ReaderMom29 on July 31, 2012

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Most Helpful Critical Review

1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

Cautious recommendation

Set in the first century, and based on the book of Revelation (the 'Last Disciple' refers to John), this book offers a different take on the Tribulation than the Left Behind series. I find it interesting that both series are published by Tyndale House, especially consi...
Set in the first century, and based on the book of Revelation (the 'Last Disciple' refers to John), this book offers a different take on the Tribulation than the Left Behind series. I find it interesting that both series are published by Tyndale House, especially considering the Afterword.

That said, here are my thoughts: I felt this was a well written and intriguing book. However, there are so many characters and subplots that at times I (and this could just be me) was a bit challenged to keep it all straight. It well illustrates the excesses of ancient Rome and the abuse of power and corruption so common then. I appreciated the author's research and seeming understanding of the times.

I can recommend this book; however, I don't feel that it's one I would personally care to re-read over and over.

posted by kristen4mk on July 11, 2012

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  • Posted July 31, 2012

    I didn't realize before reading The Last Disciple that this seri

    I didn't realize before reading The Last Disciple that this series was essentially written to offer an alternate perspective on The Left Behind series. This is a view that I lean towards based on my understanding of Scripture, and The Last Disciple offered further insight into how this view fits with the book of Revelation. Primarily, however, this suspenseful read encouraged me to be bolder in my faith and to recognize how blessed I am to be able to worship freely. I would highly recommend this book for greater insight on early Christianity and for a strengthening of one's faith. However, I would warn readers of two things: (1) this book is at times very hard to read because of the horrors of Nero's reign that are portrayed (it is definitely not suitable for children or young teens) and (2) the story ends abruptly, meaning you will need to the read the next two books to find any kind of conclusion (I am currently halfway through the second book).

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 18, 2008

    Fantastic Read

    This is a wonderful read. A historical novel that will open your eyes to much of what early Christians faced during Nero's reign.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 8, 2005

    Brings the New Testament to life

    The authors do a wonderful job of bringing Roman history and New Testament history together in historical context. Moving between scenes provides the reader with anticipation for what may lie ahead.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 15, 2012

    I did not like this book at all. It's completely not my taste.

    I did not like this book at all. It's completely not my taste. The
    book starts out in Rome AD 65 and I'm sure it was written with lots of
    historical accuracy but it's so violent and terrible.

    1 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 11, 2012

    Cautious recommendation

    Set in the first century, and based on the book of Revelation (the 'Last Disciple' refers to John), this book offers a different take on the Tribulation than the Left Behind series. I find it interesting that both series are published by Tyndale House, especially considering the Afterword.

    That said, here are my thoughts: I felt this was a well written and intriguing book. However, there are so many characters and subplots that at times I (and this could just be me) was a bit challenged to keep it all straight. It well illustrates the excesses of ancient Rome and the abuse of power and corruption so common then. I appreciated the author's research and seeming understanding of the times.

    I can recommend this book; however, I don't feel that it's one I would personally care to re-read over and over.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted June 22, 2012

    An Interesting Take on Revelation

    The post-script of this book compares it to the Left Behind Series by Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins, and with good reason. Both are based on the prophecies in the book of Revelation, and offer very different interpretations. While Left Behind tells the story of Revelation literally in the near future, the Last Disciple offers a more symbolic understanding nearly 2000 years ago.
    That being said, the story line spins itself out by following ex-soldier Gallus Sergius Vitas as he pursues rumors and unrest throughout the Roman Empire at Nero's bidding. On the way he picks up a variety of allies, stumbles onto multiple intrigues, and manages to increase his number of enemies in the quest to find out the truth behind the movement of Christ-followers.
    I am giving this book four stars for its fresh take on eschatology, the effort made by the authors to turn-out high quality writing, and the promise of a new Christian series that I can enjoy repeatedly. An obvious amount of thought and research was spent collecting details, facts, and figures to provide the setting. As a prolific reader (500+ books/year), this novel has a higher level of quality and enjoyability than many others I have stumbled across.
    An adventure tale of sorts, the novel was interesting and well written enough for me to finish it in a single sitting, but not quite compelling enough to have me begging for the sequel. Some of the plot-line conclusions were easily discernible from the first introduction, but the confusion I had in deciphering the latin-based chaptering (despite the table in the front of the book) was enough to keep me guessing. There is a fair amount of gore, including accurate descriptions of torture and cruelty to Christians pervasive in the Roman Empire during this period. For these scenes alone, if the novel was filmed as written, it would probably receive a heavy PG-13 for disturbing depictions of suicide, infanticide, and torture. No sex, no language, and because the violent scenes are in words and not pictures, they manage to add to the context and drama of the plot while not significantly making a realistic visual impact.
    This was a very dark novel. I cannot recall any major humorous moments; the only light parts are where the characters' faith shine through the despair and bloodshed. If this is what the authors intended, then they succeeded.
    I would recommend this novel to readers who are comfortable with 'heavy' literature, readers who enjoy ancient Rome, and readers who enjoy wondering about the prophecies in Revelation.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 10, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Great book, deep story plots and characters.. only one question

    I loved this book, I loved how it seamlessly jumped between characters, keeping me engrossed in the plot. It was informative about what it was like to live during that time period. However.. this book is written by "biblical scholars?" The book takes place 65 CE... and it states that there existed physical copies of John, Luke, Mark and Matthew? However, John's gospel wasn't suspected to be written until ~90CE? I'm no scholar on the topic, but I've studies academically biblical history. I suppose my disappointment was that since it was written by content experts, I thought it would be more historically accurate to help me understand the history more. There were a few things that weren't consistant in recorded history, so "academic" buyer beware. But, the discrepancies in historical fact sure make for a great book! I can't wait to read the second one.. Make it into an eBook!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 6, 2008

    Massive

    Hank Hanegraaf's unigue style of filling in the blanks and creating back story is the perfect mix with Biblical history. He has long been an inpspiration to unleashing the imagination. I particularly enjoyed the mystery of The Last Disciple - not wanting to figure it out - just to see where Hank would take it, and me.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 26, 2014

    Very good

    Its very interesting and I recommend all teens to read this.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 2, 2013

    Amazing book

    This may be fiction but the author did so much research that it brings tha time period to life.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 24, 2013

    Great book

    This was a great book to help get an diffrent view of the book of revilations. In more personal understanding though because I see the story in a more humbling and relatable emotions and views of a christian believer.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 3, 2013

    Love it

    Really good book. I like how it is related to Revelations.

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  • Posted June 12, 2012

    Exciting and Eye-Opening Read

    First-century Rome is a perilous city as Nero stalks the political circles and huddled groups of believers. To be safe, Christians must remain invisible.

    Gallus Sergius Vitas is the only man within Nero’s trusted circle willing to do what it takes to keep the empire together. He struggles to lessen Nero’s monstrosities against the people of Rome—especially the Christians. But as three Greek letters are scrawled as graffiti throughout the city, Nero’s anger grows.

    As the early church begins to experience the turbulence Christ prophesied as the beginning of the last days, an enemy seeks to find John’s letter, Revelation, and destroy it. Meanwhile the early Christians must decipher it and cling to the hope it provides as they face the greatest of all persecutions.

    The Last Disciple was an exciting and eye-opening novel that clearly revealed what it was like to be a Christian in Rome during Nero's reign. The plot line was well written and varied between a couple of different people's perspectives, allowing the reader to understand what was really going on. There were several instances of suspense and unexpected twists that added to the feeling of uncertainty that the characters felt in those times of persecution. The idea that Rome was out to destroy John's letter was interesting, and these authors do not hesitate to throw their own spin on areas in history where not a lot is known. It was incredibly interesting to see their perspectives and opinions about certain historical events after their own research. I did not completely agree with their view of Revelation, but I was able to completely enjoy the book despite my disagreements.

    The characters were well developed and easy to identify with, despite the span of several centuries since that era. I enjoyed seeing Vitas' growth as he wrestled with Nero's actions and as he learned more about John and why his letter of Revelation was so important. The other more minor characters also developed over the story and allowed the reader to begin to understand more why they were included in the story. The background and the Roman culture were also researched and developed well throughout the novel, and it really helped me become immersed in the story and the time period.

    Overall, I really enjoyed this novel, and I would highly recommend it and its sequel, the Last Sacrifice.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 11, 2005

    Surprising...

    I loved this book. Since I have been very interested in 'biblical fiction' (or perhaps 'interpretation'), this book jumped off the shelf at me. I was disappointed when I got to the end, and it did just that- Ended. Then I realized it was a series- what a relief!! The stories seemed little choppy a first but begin to smooth out as the story and the characters unfold, then it really becomes a great read!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 19, 2005

    Bringing the New Testament to life

    Wow, what a way to learn your New Testament and be entertained at the same time. This book brings the Bible to life. It's one thing to hear how First Century Christians were persecuted for their beliefs but it takes on a new dimension when you meet these characters and follow their lives. The only dissapointment was that it ended with out the next book in the series out on the stands! If you've been reading the Left Behind Series, put them down and pick up the real story of the Tribulation.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 25, 2005

    WOW! What a concept!

    While the story gets a little choppy at times as it's the first in a series, it does provide a very thought provoking and interesting read. I first purchased it on audio for my spouse. The audio version is definitely better as it smoothly transitions from story to story. The book, however, was wonderful for someone (as myself) who enjoys letting their imagination form the story instead of a reader's words.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 3, 2004

    conventional plot?

    It is great to read a book that, while fiction, closely weaves the story with historical events and the cultural realities of the Roman Empire in the first century. In this way, it differs vastly from the interpretation of Revelation as presented in the Left Behind series, which is set in a highly speculative future. It's ironic then, when those who side with the eschatology of the Left Behind books object to the fictional aspects of Hanegraaff's book. Another irony is one of the criticisms in the above Publisher's Weekly review. Yes, on occasion the dialogue is didactic; how else explain some of what the book teaches? Fortunately, these pieces of conversation come in sporadic and short doses, and it would appear that as this was the same method used far more exhaustively in The Da Vinci Code, readers in general don't mind too much. The greater irony, however, is the Publisher's Weekly reviewer's assertion that the plot is 'conventional'. Readers of The Last Disciple should read through some of the writings of Josephus to see how that famous historian recounts the events in Judea in May of 66. (Josephus: The Wars of The Jews, Book 2, Chapters 14 &15.) The storyline of the book, with its high points in drama and twists and turns, mirror those same events so closely that calling the plot conventional is like calling an American Civil War novel conventional for remaining faithful to historical events. And in the case of The Last Disciple, there doesn't seem much conventional about the political twists and turns and the injustices that the Roman governor Florus inflicted upon the Jews in his attempt to force the Jews to start a war that would hide his bad administration from Rome. The reviewer's assertion that 'even Vitas can't prevent the destruction of the Jewish Temple' seems equally uninformed, for two reasons. The fictional Vitas does have a hand in turning Florus away from Jerusalem; in the fictional setting as in the historical setting, it appeared at the end of May 66 that the war had been successfully averted. Furthermore, and as a direct result of temporarily averting the war, the destruction of the Temple by Roman legions does not even occur within the book, and certainly not within the historical time frame of the Jewish Wars that the book covers. How can it be then, that in this novel Vitas 'can't prevent the destruction of the Jewish Temple' when it wasn't even destroyed? It's almost like the reviewer simply read the cover copy and then flipped through The Last Disciple to find some passages to criticize. As those of us know who used this method in elementary school to save time on book reports, this rarely fools anyone. So read it, and judge for yourself! You won't regret it!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 31, 2004

    Time to study

    If nothing else, this book should wake those lulled by the Left Behind series. The co-authors of 'The Last Disciple' provided an interesting perspective on the lives of first century Christians. Not sure if many of us today would be bold enough to face the arena, or stand to be tarred and burned, yet secure enough to endure knowing that the faith professed was real. I never really thought about what it must have been like to read John's epistles, or Matthew's account within the first 100 years of Christ's first advent. I am sure they were eagerly looking for Him to return. I am looking forward to the next book in the series. Until then, the studying continues!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 20, 2004

    A wonderful read

    This book is great. I'm only 1/3 of the way through is and I can't put it down. Have any of us thought about 64AD before? We've heard the Christians were persecuted, but to read this authors account of it is horrifying and disturbing. Hank Hannegraaff is a wonderful Christian and truly has put together with Sigmund Brouwer a great masterpiece. Thanks to both of them

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 17, 2004

    A must read for seekers of the truth!

    I have alwys questioned the current Christian mainstream belief of the last days as described in the Book of the Revelation. This book has given me new insight. It makes more sense to me than the end times events as described in the Left Behind series. I can't wait for the next book to come out. Great job!

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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