The Centurion's Wife

The Centurion's Wife

by Davis Bunn, Janette Oke


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Janette Oke has dreamed for years of retelling a story in a biblical time frame from a female protagonist's perspective, and Davis Bunn is elated to be working with her again on this sweeping saga of the dramatic events surrounding the birth of Christianity...and the very personal story of Leah, a young Jewess of mixed heritage trapped in a vortex of competing political agendas and private trauma.

Caught up in the maelstrom following the death of an obscure rabbi in the Roman backwater of first-century Palestine, Leah finds herself also engulfed in her own turmoil—facing the prospect of an arranged marriage to a Roman soldier, Alban, who seems to care for nothing but his own ambitions. Head of the garrison near Galilee, he has been assigned by Palestine's governor to ferret out the truth behind rumors of a political execution gone awry. Leah's mistress, the governor's wife, secretly commissions Leah also to discover what really has become of this man whose death—and missing body—is causing such furor.

This epic drama is threaded with the tale of an unlikely romance and framed with dangers and betrayals from unexpected sources. At its core, The Centurion's Wife unfolds the testing of loyalties—between two young people whose inner searchings they cannot express, between their irreconcilable heritages, and ultimately between their humanity and the Divine they yearn to encounter.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780764205149
Publisher: Baker Publishing Group
Publication date: 01/01/2009
Series: Acts of Faith Series , #1
Pages: 384
Sales rank: 292,107
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.40(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

Davis Bunn, the author of twenty bestsellers, has received numerous accolades, including three Christy Awards for excellence in fiction. His books have sold more than six million copies in sixteen languages. He and his wife, Isabella, make their home near Oxford, England, where they teach and write. Davis serves as Writer-In-Residence at Regent's Park College, Oxford University, and is a member of the British Academy of Film and Television Arts.

Janette Oke, recipient of the 1992 ECPA President's Award and the 1999 CBA Life Impact Award for her significant contribution to the Christian book industry, has also won both the Gold Medallion Award and the Christy Award for fiction. Janette and her husband, Edward, live in Alberta, Canada.

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The Centurion's Wife (Acts of Faith Series #1) 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 228 reviews.
andrea10 More than 1 year ago
This story of the early Christians just after Christ's ascension to heaven was uplifting and interesting. However, the story did drag a bit in the middle, but picked up toward the ending. I liked the story because of my interest in the early Church and ancient history. Don't know how historically plausible everything was, but I enjoyed the premise and setting, and the sweet love story between a Roman Gaul and a young Jewish woman. Will definitely read the remaining two books in the series.
Deborah_K More than 1 year ago
When I heard that Janette Oke had a new book coming out, I was beyond thrilled. It's been a long time since we had a new book from her and I was looking highly forward to reading it. I was also excited to see that this book would be another collaboration between her and Davis Bunn. I highly enjoyed the other books the two had written together in the past. This would be the first Biblical fiction novel from Oke, so I was also curious to see what a book from her NOT set in Canada would be like. The book starts out rather slow. It took a while for me to get into the story and I could not relate to the characters at first. It doesn't feel rushed but it seems like the reader doesn't have enough time to get to know the characters well enough. Also I didn't feel like Leah and Alban spent enough time together, especially since the title has the word wife in it. However once you get past all that, the story is absolutely brilliant. Even though the reader knows about Jesus' resurrection, seeing how the characters had to find clues about what really happened was like reading a mystery novel. Leah and Alban did not have religious upbringing so for them to find out the truth and the meaning behind it was a joy to read. I really love biblical fiction and the historical research done for the story is excellent. You really do feel like you are in the time period and can see the setting perfectly. I liked seeing characters from the Bible that we all know given "screen time". I really liked the background stories given to the characters that aren't even given names in the Bible. I know there are some people who don't like Biblical fiction, but I personally enjoy it. I don't feel that it is sacrilegious to give religious characters personalities and imagine what life was like for them. I am going to be looking forward to the next book in the series.
MichelleSutton More than 1 year ago
When I read a story, especially historical fiction, I want to be transported to another place. The Centurion's Wife does just that. But it's not just a story about Leah, the wife. It is just as much the story of Alban, the Centurion, who was originally from Gaul. He was sent by Pilate to find out more about the "prophet" Jesus, who was crucified, yet continued to influence all of Judea. Pilate was afraid of a Judean revolt, but what he didn't realize was that Jesus had come to live, and died, and then rose again to free mankind from their sins.

Alban was sent by Pilate to find out more about the man, Jesus, and at the same time Leah, his niece, was sent by Procula, his wife, to seek that very information. Each step in their search for truth was profoundly beautiful. Jesus influenced lives in ways that was difficult for them to comprehend, but still very real. The more they learned about Jesus, the more drawn they felt toward him. And His teaching was contrary to what they had both been taught their entire lives. I was on this journey with them and rejoiced as each slowly transformed their thinking.

The thing that thrilled me about this story was how the reader also needed to examine what to do with the man, Jesus. If he had indeed risen from the dead, what does that mean for them? The Centurion's Wife was engaging and profoundly spiritual. I loved the setting and the way the authors led the reader on a spiritual journey as well. I was deeply moved as the story concluded. This is the kind of story that leaves an impact on your heart and makes you think more about your faith. This book would also make an excellent supplement to a Bible study and would be a fabulous book for book clubs and reading groups to study. I plan to read the rest of this series because if the other stories are this amazing, they are not to be missed!

This book is definitely going on my favorite fiction list for 2009.
Nicole Whitworth More than 1 year ago
I loved this book and highly recommend it to anyone who loves historical fiction.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The attention to detail in following the Bible was really good. What I did not like about it was it focused on the political size of the story. Another thing was there was a lot of dialog. There was a lot of dialog that went over the same information over and over. Honestly I was lost a lot and not sure of how much I actually read. I was really expecting more out of this book. I liked the idea but not so much on the exacusion.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I liked the book. Very good story. A little long in middle but other than that a good read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Excellent read
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is great. I think it going to be one of my favorites historic based faith building books that I have read. I would highly recommend this book and it's author Thank for letting me enjoy it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was excellent! 300 pages of a story set at the time if Christ's crucifixion, Leah and Antol find not only love for each other, but also become Christians, following the path God will send them on. The fact that the book was part historical and part fiction made it even better. Made u feel like u were really there with them during this time of the birth of Christianity. I was sad when the book ended. These authors did a great job. I recommend this book to everyone. U won't be disappointed. Vallie
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I absolutely LOVED this book. I loved how the author mixed historical fact and fiction. I can't wait to read more books from this author.
Sherry Revill More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed this book imensely on several levels: I enjoy history and historical fiction, I'm a Roman Catholic, and I have also been to Rome. My only real criticisms of the book are the number of typographical errors and the repeated use of the word 'legionnaires' to describe Roman soldiers. The proper term is 'legionaries.' I found myself wanting to know more about Procula, especially since she was patrician by birth, being a Claudian; and how much real influence did she have over Pilate either as his wife and/or a patrician?
Char_Lee More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed the story. It dealt with a period not often discussed in Christian fiction. The love story was perfectly muted, while the search for faith was highlighted. This story didn't try to go too far and over explain faith but faith was present thoughout. I have recommended this book to friends and will be looking for more by this author.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I found it very interesting, as it all happened in just a short period of time around the time Christ was crucified. It helped me to understand some of the customs of the time also. I saw that it is numbered Number 1 so I am anxious to see what title 2 will be about.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book took an interesting spin on what the early believers faced after Jesus' death. It expands one's view of the biblical account by showing the reader how Rome was affected by all of the events. Great story and romance. ; )
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved it! Although some characters are fictional it re inspired my faith.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Amazing book! Highly recomend to everyone
Janna6 More than 1 year ago
I love the idea of a book being written about non-Christians finding Christ during the period of Jesus' death, resurrection and ascension without ever actually meeting Jesus. Here we have Leah and Alban who are separately trying to find out what actually happened to the man named Jesus' body when it was "stolen" from the tomb and if his followers are a threat to Rome. We follow them separately on their journeys for truth knowing that they have been promised to wed each other after the truth is found. Leah is not happy about this and Alban initially just sees Leah as a means to a higher status in life. Can they find the truth before those seeking to hide it get them out of the way? What will the truth mean to them? Can a life without love really be worth living? The Centurion's Wife answers all of this and much more in a beautiful story and a fantastic setting. I really enjoyed this book and fans of historical fiction (especially like Francine River's Mark of the Lion series) will love this book!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Enjoyed this story
maryanntherese on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The Centurion's Wife is the first installment in a promising new series entitled Acts of Faith. Set in Ceasarea and Jerusalem at the time of the Crucifixion of Christ, the story is told from two perspectives. First is Leah, a poor relation of Pontius Pilate whose circumstances force her to become a servant in his household. Then there is Alban, a Gallic Roman centurion who has offered for Leah's hand in the hopes of advancing his own career.The events surrounding the trial, death and subsequent disappearance of the body of Jesus have everyone unsettled. Pilate and Herod are concerned about a possible Jewish revolt in the province. Pilate's wife is suffering from unspeakable headaches and nightmares.Pilate allows Alban to become betrothed to Leah, who is legally a Jewess by her mother's mother, in a traditional Jewish ceremony. To claim his bride, Alban must find the body of Jesus, and determine if a revolt is imminent.Leah, who wants no part of marriage, is tasked by Pilate's wife to find out all she can about the followers of Jesus.The characters are interesting and sympathetic. The title of the book, and the fact that it is proclaimed a "first-in-series," give away the ending. But how they manage to get there, and what happens Leah and Alban along the way, is an interesting tale.Most interesting for me was the reaction of people to the Resurrection right when it happened, as portrayed in the book. It led me to ask myself what I might have thought, might have done. I was a little uncomfortable with development of personalities for Biblical characters such as Pilate and his wife, Mary Magdalene, Lazarus and his sisters. But, how else to tell a story?The ending of the book was left a definite cliff-hanger, with Alban's fate as a centurion in the balance still. I think they overplayed their lead-in to a sequel just a bit. I would have liked a major issue such as that settled in the same volume.Overall this was an enjoyable, thought-provoking tale of Judea at the time of it's biggest crisis.
hobbitprincess on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The title of this book is a bit misleading since the main character, Leah, doesn't become the centurion's wife until the very end of the book. The vast majority of the book concerns Leah's searching out information for her mistress, Pontius Pilate's wife. She wants to know about the followers of "the prophet", or Christ, and whether or not they plan to overthrow her husband. At the same time, in a separate search, Alban, the centurion, is finding out information for Pilate himself. I had a difficult time getting into this book. I never really warmed up to the characters; they seemed remote and wooden to me throughout the book. in fact, I found that I actually really didn't care what happened to them. I did enjoy the history, however, and I did get a feel for what Jerusalem may have been like during the weeks following the crucifixion of Christ. The authors have done a good job of making the setting realistic. The message, of course, of Christ's salvation, is a good one and an important one, and if someone gets inspired by this book, more power to them.
MichelleSutton on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The thing that thrilled me about this story was how the reader also needed to examine what to do with the man, Jesus. If He had indeed risen from the dead, what did that mean for them? I loved the setting and the way the authors led the reader on a spiritual journey as well. I was deeply moved as the story concluded. This is the kind of story that leaves an impact on your heart and makes you think more about your faith.
libraryclerk on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Takes place after the death of Jesus. Pilate and Herod wants to know what happened to the body of this prophet and if there will be a revolt by his followers. Pilate sends Alban, the centurion, to get the information. Pilate's wife, Procula, who has nightmares about his Jesus, sends out her servant, Leah, who is also Pilate's niece. Alban and Leah do not know that they are looking for the same thing. Incorporates several Biblical stories to connect the characters. It mixes people of different cultures and has become a good start for the series Acts of Faith.
MrsLee on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This story encompasses the people and events in Jerusalem during the weeks after the crucifixion of Jesus of Nazareth. It focuses on a woman, Leah, who is a servant to Pontius Pilate's wife and one of his centurions, Alban. These two are commissioned to find out what happened to Jesus' body and whether or not his followers are planning a rebellion.The details of Jerusalem and those who dwelt there at this time in history, make it very interesting. I found myself a bit impatient with Leah and the "patness" of the story, but it was satisfactory reading for what it was. Alban was too good to be true, but sometimes that's nice in a hero. I don't think an unbeliever would think this story believable, but for me, a believer, it was.
halo776 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Since Leah's father lost his fortune in disgrace, her family has faced hard times. He forced her two older sisters into loveless marriages, and now Leah is a servant for Pilate's wife. As far as she's concerned, they get drastically worse when she learns Pilate has promised her in marriage to Alban, a centurion from Gaul. Leah has seen enough disappointment to expect the worst from the well-known soldier. Despite her misgivings, she tries to face the betrothal with a calm dignity. Then, all of Jerusalem is turned upside down. The body of Jesus has gone missing from the tomb. Pilate seeks answers, and he sends Alban into the midst of the Judeans to find them. Likewise, his wife sends Leah to question Jesus's followers about his disappearance. As Alban and Leah discover more about the prophet's teachings and form relationships with the "God-fearers," they are drawn to each other and to this Jesus who might possibly be the Messiah. This book was not really what I expected it to be. I thought it would be more about Leah and Alban's relationship. Instead, they were rarely together. The narration shifts from Alban's point of view to Leah's, describing their daily lives as they struggle to find answers for their master/mistress. The ending was great, but I thought the plot was lacking in some areas. There were times that I just didn't want to finish it. There were no real surprises, and the characters of Leah and Alban weren't fully developed. In short, this was a book with great promise, but it was neither suspenseful nor thought-provoking.
brendaholmes on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A story of political crisis, personal inspiration and change, along with a little detective work, all wrapped up in one! The story takes place in the weeks immediately following the cricifixion of Christ and the upheaval that followed. The period is one in which there is not a lot written or known, but weaves a story that fits into, and realistically shows the many different angles of a story that is usually told from only one perspective. A good and easy read, that will make you look at not only the crucifixion, but the entire time period in a completely different aspect!