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Posted February 16, 2011
Disciple is the second book in Ed Lewis's Seeds of Christianity series. Book one, Witness, introduced readers to Shemu'el and Rivkah, Bethlehem shepherds, parted by war and slavery, then re-united by love. In the background, Christ is born in a manger, grows up, and dies on Calvary. The author's ability to bring historical periods to life is as powerful in book two as in book one. His characters become part of a Judaic sect who believe in Yeshua HaMashiach-Jesus the Messiah. Moving to Jerusalem, they interact with famous people from the Bible-Peter, Stephen, Saul, Gamaliel.-all called by their contemporary names, all beautifully researched. The feelings of ordinary people, struggling to survive under Roman rule and religious persecution, are as contemporarily relevant as they are historically real. The cities and countryside are beautifully described. And the different civilizations are filled with human depth and authenticity.
Author Ed Lewis has a wonderful skill with his writing, hiding deep and serious research under simple, honest story-telling. There's no feel of being overwhelmed with teaching in this novel-neither religious nor historical. There's no defensive "This is how it must have been." But there's a powerful sense of "This is how it could have been." Famous events take place off-stage, and family events revolve round love and hope. Even the prayers are simple-no super-hero God answering each gloriously uttered prayer, but serious concern for real people, cries for help, desperation, and assistance recognized only after the event, as in real life.
The story travels from Bethlehem to Antioch, where followers meet in a carved-out-cave (there's a wonderful picture on the author's website!), till better accommodation is offered them. Wonderful new characters join those remembered from book one. New storylines grow out of old experience. And the whole comes to a delightful close, even while leaving the reader longing for more.
While the author works on book three, Apostle, readers are invited to read historical notes at the end of the book. To research so deeply and tread so lightly with his fiction is a wonderful talent, and Disciple is another wonderful book, for Christians to share how it might have been, and for the curious to follow a fascinating journey.
Disclosure: I received an ecopy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.
A fabulous novel from all aspects ... not just as a Christian novel, but historically educational while still very entertaining.
Characters from WITNESS return and the new ones are terrific. Liked the autistic giant, and found the things the early Christians did to be amazing. I've learned so much. I love that they rescued abandoned babies and raised them. Touching, too, how they ransomed Christians taken as slaves. Like following the same family and watching them grow. Can't wait for the next in the series. Will reread these two again until the third one is out!