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The Advocate

Average Rating 4.5
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  • Posted June 11, 2014

    This is an unusual legal thriller by Randy Singer because it inv

    This is an unusual legal thriller by Randy Singer because it involves the historical details of the trial and crucifixion of Jesus as well as the growth of Christianity even as people faced incredible torture for their faith. It opens with two boys who are part of a small group of boys being privately tutored around the time of Christ’s birth. One boy Nero who would become Emperor acted cruelly toward his classmate and the classmate was left tied to a cross until strangers on the road helped him escape. Years later that boy who knew how bad the cross was would be standing beside Pilate when Pilate sentenced Jesus to die. Later he would return to Rome where Nero was emperor, Christianity was spreading, and he’d have to decide what he believed. It is fiction mixed with some true facts and is truly an interesting book to read.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 9, 2014

    I love books like this that make history come alive. I think it

    I love books like this that make history come alive. I think it is possible to read the Bible and believe wholeheartedly that it is true and still not quite grasp the concept that the stories in it happened to real people. At least it is for me. I tend to get lost in searching for Biblical truth and life application and lose the human interest. Likewise, it is possible to read history books about how Nero persecuted Christians without fully comprehending that these Christians were men and women with children and families. This is why I enjoy reading historical fiction so much.

    Singer obviously completed a lot of research in the process of writing this book. In fact, it took five years to complete, according to the afterword at the end of the book. Those five years showed in the amount of historical facts Singer used in the book. What I found most interesting was Theophilis witnessing Jesus's final days in Jerusalem. It was different from anything I have read before and it make the events come alive for me. The entire book made history come alive and I learned things about Roman culture that I was not previously aware of. I enjoyed it very much. Although it is a lengthy book of over 400 pages, it is so interesting that it didn't take long to read.

    Of course, realism has its drawbacks. This book is quite real and Singer does not shy aware from the description of torture and the effect of crucifixion on the body is difficult to read. Some scenes were very difficult to read and were a little nauseating. I found that I was gritting my teeth just to get through some scenes. Fainthearted readers beware. Some teens might wish to read this book, but parents might want to pre-read it and be ready to discuss it with their teens. Singer delivers his usual descriptive flair in this book and I thought it was a great book. Although the difficult scenes were hard to read, they were real. These actual events may not have happened in exactly the way Singer described, but it is true that Nero persecuted and killed Christians in the arena.

    If you are looking to have a more complete picture of Roman times in the time of the early church, this is a great book.

    I received a complimentary copy of this book from Net Galley in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 2, 2014

    Excellent Book!   After reading my first Randy Singer book last

    Excellent Book!  

    After reading my first Randy Singer book last year I was hooked and set out to read all of his published books. The Advocate did not disappoint.  Singer took his legal thriller writing style and wrote about Theophilus, a young man from the New Testament.  Theophilus while a real person in the Bible is used as a fictional character in this book as he embarks on his journey of rising in the legal ranks of Rome.  He is there while Jesus is tried and crucified and personally feels the pain of the crucifixion after his former classmates tried to crucify him. He feels the pain of not being able to save him when he suggested Barrabbas as a trade hoping the angry mob would choose Jesus. I really enjoyed this book- the author has a way of drawing the reader into what ever situation he writes about and providing all the details needed so that they feel they are really a part of the story.

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  • Posted August 31, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    Randy Singer in his book ¿The Advocate¿ published by Tyndale Hou

    Randy Singer in his book “The Advocate” published by Tyndale House Publishers gives us a legal thriller featuring Theophilus from The Bible.




    From the Back Cover:  At the trial of Christ, Theophilus, brilliant young assessore raised in the Roman aristocracy, stands behind Pontius Pilate and whispers, “Offer to release Barabbas.” The strategy backfires, and Theophilus never forgets the sight of an innocent man unjustly suffering the worst of all possible deaths—Roman crucifixion.




    Three decades later, Theophilus has proven himself in the legal ranks of the Roman Empire. He has survived the insane rule of Caligula and has weathered the cruel tyrant’s quest to control the woman he loves. He has endured the mindless violence of the gladiator games and the backstabbing intrigue of the treason trials.




    Now he must face another evil Caesar, defending the man Paul in Nero’s deranged court. Can Theophilus mount a defense that will keep another innocent man from execution?




    The advocate’s first trial altered the course of history. His last will change the fate of an empire.




    Ever wonder who  Theophilus is when you read the Gospel of Luke and the Book of Acts? Remember that when Luke was writing what we consider those two books was really just one long letter. And it is believed to be a legal brief in defense of the Apostle Paul whom  Theophilus was defending before Nero. Now Randy Singer has taken that bit of information and expanded it into one of the best historical fiction novels I think I have ever read. Mr. Singer is always good for a wonderful read however I think, this time, he has outdone himself. “The Advocate” is entertaining and will have you flipping pages as fast as you can read but, be prepared, it is also thought-provoking.  This is a multi-faceted story with interconnected subplots that will keep you guessing until the end.  I do not recommend starting this book late at night because it will cost you sleep as you will not want to put it down.  Randy Singer is an excellent writer and knows how to twist your nerve endings as he tightens the suspense.  I recommend this book highly!




    Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Tyndale House Publishers.   I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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  • Posted July 30, 2014

    Excellent and Intense Historical Realism. This reminds me of a c

    Excellent and Intense Historical Realism. This reminds me of a courtroom drama, only better, with more depth and intensity. Mr. Singer is masterful at drawing us into the world of the first century. The historical scenes and figures were fascinating. He portrayed them from the viewpoint of Theophilus, the advocate, then he created narratives from various other viewpoints, making a compelling drama. He used real figures and added details, extra characters, and dialogue that really sound feasible. I loved the quotations from philosophers. It is a tragic story but has a message of hope. The research really made this exceptional.

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  • Posted July 22, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    Epic. If I had to sum up "The Advocate" in one word,

    Epic.


    If I had to sum up "The Advocate" in one word, that would be it. Randy Singer has crafted some deeply moving and exhilarating legal thrillers, but nothing compares to this sweeping saga that combines history with story and brings the time of Paul to life.


    I've always been fascinated by dear Theophilus, the person Luke penned his gospel for. I've encountered him in other historical fiction, but never like this. From his early days as a student of the philosopher Seneca until his final years as a premiere advocate of Rome, THIS is the story of Theophilus.


    Like any great work of fiction, you must take your time and savor each page. Some scenes are so intense that I had to put the book down and walk away, just to give myself enough time to soak it all in. I was swept up into the world of ancient Rome and the Caesars, and thrilled with the majesty of this novel.


    If Randy never writes another book, he has penned a masterpiece that deserves to be considered a classic. But he must write more, because I'm a huge fan! Still, this is the book he was created to write, and I'm so glad he took the time to tell the story of "The Advocate".


    I purchased my copy, but you can get yours from Tyndale House Publishers direct, or your local bookstore. Just don't miss this one...it's going to be the best of 2014...maybe even of the decade.

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  • Posted July 19, 2014

    I have mixed thoughts about this book.  I really like Randy Sing

    I have mixed thoughts about this book.  I really like Randy Singer as an author.  I've enjoyed everyone of his legal thrillers.  I had a very hard time getting into The Advocate.  I think it's because it's not a time period nor a topic I would usually choose. It is historical fiction.  Singer developed a fictional life story about Theophilus who is the original recipient of books of Luke and Acts.  About 3/4 of the book was all ancient Roman history; gods, emperors, roles, activities, lifestyles, etc.  Once the story actually turned to The Apostle, I was glad I stuck with it.  Theophilus's role in Paul's trial and how it changed his family's lives kept me reading.  To me the last 1/4 of the book was like Scripture and history coming together to tell a riveting story.  The Advocate was well written and well developed.  To fans of history, especially Roman history, it's a book well worth the read.  

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  • Posted July 12, 2014

    Oh my were to start with this review. Last year during the Tynda

    Oh my were to start with this review. Last year during the Tyndale Summer Reading Program was my first introduction to Randy Singer and I fell in love. He is a former trial attorney and writes gripping legal tales. I have acquired several of his books but this is only the second that I have had time to read. This is an epic novel. He said it took him five years to write and he now has great respect for those who write historical fiction as the research and mindset you have to get in to is a lot of hard work.




    The Advocate is set in Rome during the time of Jesus and afterwards to when Nero is emperor. It follows an advocate (lawyer) named Theophilus. The story starts with him as a teenager going through school and documents is life through being an adviser to Pontius Pilate when Jesus is crucified to Peter being on trial in Rome to Nero persecuting Christians. It goes through so much Roman history and was just fascinating. It felt like I went on this amazing journey by the time the book was over. If you read no other book this summer this is the one you MUST read. It was amazing.

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  • Posted July 12, 2014

    Author Randy Singer's book, "The Advocate" is a powerf

    Author Randy Singer's book, "The Advocate" is a powerful story covering about five decades during the reign of Rome. Mr. Singer is a great storyteller in general (you'll like them all, my personal favorites are "The Judge" and "Dead Lawyers Tell No Tales") but typically bases his novels on present day fiction. This is his first piece of historical fiction.



    This novel tells the story of Theophilus, the person referenced in Luke & the book of Acts ("Most Excellent Theophilus"). We begin with a powerful sentence, "I was fourteen years old when I learned what it meant to be crucified" - and the story races off from there. Spanning decades during the time period that include the crucifixion of Christ (Theophilus is portrayed as Pilate's assessore, or advisor during that time), his time as an advocate defending cases he believes in, the reign of numerous Emperors, the rise of the "Way" or what was the early church, to the burning of Rome...this is a novel not to be missed. Full of intrigue, humor, suspense, and emotion, you will definitely want to read this book.

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  • Posted July 9, 2014

    Luke, a Greek physician, Christian, and companion of the Apostle

    Luke, a Greek physician, Christian, and companion of the Apostle Paul, compiled the first 2-volume history of
    the Christian church.  We know them, respectively, as The Gospel Of Luke and The Book Of Acts.  You can find
    them in the New Testament portion of the Bible.

    These books were each addressed to an enigmatic personage, Theophilus.  Whether Theophilus was an
    historical figure, or whether this was a play on words (Theophilus literally means, “Lover of God”) is still being
    debated.  Acclaimed author Randy Singer has taken the character of Theophilus and crafted an excellent book
    that centers around this young man’s training and subsequent career as a lawyer in the courts of Rome during
    the time of Christ.

    As assessore for Pontius Pilate, Theophilus has a ring-side seat as the greatest story ever told unfolds before
    his very eyes.  He is the one who suggested that Pilate offer the release of Barabbas, certain that the crowd
    would release the innocent man, Jesus, instead.  

    The plan backfired, and Theophilus would forever live with the thought that he was instrumental in the death of
    an innocent man.  

    Many years, and two Caesars later, Theophilus is once again tasked with the defense of an innocent man, the
    Apostle Paul.  However, with age comes wisdom, and this time Theophilus can no longer be a disinterested
    bystander.  It’s not just Paul’s life that hangs in the balance.  

    Rich with historical and cultural detail, and passionate with the mental, emotional, and philosophical forces of
    the day, The Advocate is a book that will help you understand the context of Christianity, and cause you to
    re-examine your own beliefs concerning the Jesus of history.  

    Reviewer’s disclaimer:  Randy Singer pulls no punches.  There are scenes that may be considered too
    graphic for the younger reader.  

    5 stars for life-changing fiction by Randy Singer

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  • Posted July 7, 2014

    What a book! I think this is one of my favorites. It was very de

    What a book! I think this is one of my favorites. It was very detailed and fairly historically accurate as far as I could tell. The characters were very real: they had weaknesses and things they regretted doing or saying just like we all do. Despite the suffering the characters endured throughout the course of the book, overall the message is one of hope and victory in Jesus.

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  • Posted July 7, 2014

    I was hooked from the very start! The extensive research, the gr

    I was hooked from the very start! The extensive research, the gripping plot, the easy-to-read writing style, the believable characters you end desperately rooting for, and the message of the Gospel all combined so well to make a truly amazing book. It has become a new favorite of mine that I will definitely return to re-read in the future. I highly, highly recommend it!

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  • Posted July 5, 2014

    The Advocate really had me interested at the beginning. It start

    The Advocate really had me interested at the beginning. It started off with the young Roman Theophilius and continues on with his life story. I was fascinated with the Roman’s point of view of Jesus and his ultimate crucifixion. After that part of the book, it really slowed down for me. When Theophilius meets with Paul and represented him at trial, the pace picked up a bit. It was quite fascinating to see the author’s vision of how it was like for how the then new Christian movement began and took off. Especially, how those Christians stayed faithful during the reign of the tyrant Nero. How horrifying for them, but inspiring how they continue on with their faith no matter what.
    I thought this book was rich in historical detail. I found it interesting how the author was able to take the reader to Theophilius’s time and how he lived to know of Jesus, Paul, and the rise of Christianity. I definitely would not have wanted to live in the Roman’s time of power. 
    Recommended.
    4 stars.

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  • Posted July 4, 2014

    This is my first Randy Singer book. I thought the book was a lit

    This is my first Randy Singer book. I thought the book was a little slow. The story spans the whole life of the main character. So, you read a bit about one event in his life and then the next section is a few months or years in the future. I also found it strange how the author changed and wrote from different characters’ points of view. However, if you are a lover of ancient Rome, you would probably really enjoy this book. It is interesting to think of what it would have been like to be a part of Jesus’ and Paul’s trails.

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  • Posted June 30, 2014

    As a big fan of Randy Singer's legal thrillers I found this part

    As a big fan of Randy Singer's legal thrillers I found this particular book to be very different from his usual work.  I always like it when an author takes a break from what they usually do & this book wasn't an exception.  

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  • Posted June 11, 2014

    Exceeded expectations I've only read one other Singer book, and

    Exceeded expectations

    I've only read one other Singer book, and, to be honest, I wasn't that thrilled with it. It wasn't a bad book, but it wasn't *great*. That experience almost kept me from reading The Advocate, and I'm glad I gave Singer another chance.




    The Advocate drew me in and kept me interested - nothing hokey in it either. Everything in this book could have happened (and some of it did). This is storytelling near its best.




    I appreciate that Singer includes a list in the front of the book letting you know which characters are fictional, which ones are historical (but about whom little is known), which are based on a historical figure whose name is unknown, and which ones are solid historical figures. 




    The book isn't preachy, which is a feat when dealing with the beginnings of Christianity. No trite prayers - just lives realistically portrayed ... whether or not those people are believers in Jesus. 




    Excellent read. Highly recommend. 

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  • Posted June 4, 2014

    Excellent novel! Every so often I pick up historical fiction, a

    Excellent novel!

    Every so often I pick up historical fiction, and I wonder why I don’t read it more. The Advocate has confirmed that I need to do so, and it was such a good experience reading the book that I’m ready to scour Wikipedia for information about the time period before I dig into another era. I wouldn’t want to live in that time, especially as a Christian ruled by Roman emperors, but Singer’s presentation of the times was compelling.

    Singer also does a good job introducing and maintaining his characters so that I wanted to join them on their journey through the storylines, and I cared what happened to them even when their choices or motivation veered from what I think I would do in a similar situation (or rather, what I hope I would do in such a political minefield where lives are at stake).

    I’m going to be on the lookout for another Singer novel, at least one per year until I’ve tracked them all down. Thanks, Randy, for your excellent writing!

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  • Posted June 2, 2014

    From the beginning I found this book completely compelling and

    From the beginning I found this book completely compelling and did not want to put it down! Even though it was a departure from the author’s norm of contemporary fiction, this historical fiction was completely riveting. I also learned things about Roman society that I never knew before and I loved how Mr. Singer even treated some known facts with humor.
    Essentially, Mr. Singer has written a book with the idea that Luke and Acts sound like legal briefs – would it be possible that they were written to a lawyer, Theophilus, to get him caught up to date to prepare for Paul’s trial before Nero? So we get the story of Paul woven in the book, but also the fictional parts about Theophilus and how he fit in Roman society. Of course Mr. Singer has done extensive research into Roman society to bring many details to life – from the vestal virgins to the gladiator games to the problems in outlaying provinces. We even get an understanding for why Pontius Pilate acted as he did.
    Fabulous book – one of my new favorites and I highly recommend it! Great read for both men and women.

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  • Posted May 10, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    The Advocate By: Randy Singer Have you ever wondered how peopl

    The Advocate
    By: Randy Singer

    Have you ever wondered how people lived in Jesus’ time? How court was held during Caesar’s time? Or imagined the gladiator fights, or Paul’s case before Nero? Here’s your chance to experience all this firsthand.

    Theophilus is the advocate who defends people brought to trial. He is present when Jesus is performing miracles and brought before Pilate. How could the Nazarene be so serene when he is accused? Theophilus thinks on this over the years, and when he is asked to defend Paul, he is ready with his questions regarding Jesus.

    By the end of the book, there is a band of Christians being killed. My faith and hope were encouraged witnessing their stand of faith in the midst of persecution. They held firm to God’s kingdom will prevail. The Spirit of the Lord casts out fear, for we should only fear the one who has authority over both body and soul. In all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. They endured all so they could hear these words: Well done, good and faithful servant.

    The Advocate is a legal thriller following Theophilus’ life and the people he defends, all leading up to his defense of Paul. Theophilus—lover of God—maybe there is a small part of Theophilus in all of us. Be strong in the Lord.

    The Advocate is a page-turning legal thriller. I look forward to reading more books by this author. I received this book free from Tyndale Publishing in exchange for an honest review.

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