L.D. Alford has written a fascinating, historical account of a half-Roman, half-Jewish legionnaire from the time of Yeshua (Jesus). An enormous amount of information about the training and progress of a legionnaire is written in an entertaining and riveting fashion. We follow the life of Abenadar, a childhood friend of Yeshua, who ultimately plays an important role in the outplaying of the Gospel. This book had me interested until the very last page. I highly recommend it.
I am never sure what to expect in historical fiction. Reality can be lost in the pursuit of a story line. Christian fiction is particularly challenging because the author must decide who his audience will be: believers, opponents, or people who just want a good yarn? Will the intended audience even pick up the book? Will a reader put it down half unread because he or she doesnt like the way the story is going? Having just drafted a historical Christian fiction work myself, I am aware of these questions.The premise of Centurion, that Jesus and the centurion presiding over his crucifixion were friends from infancy, is unlikely but possible. No violence is done to Biblical accounts, and the history is carefully researched. Historical context rounded out the various cultures to avoid demonizing or idealizing any particular group. Heroes and villains are found among Romans, Jews, and Christians just as in real life.Identification of names could be daunting to some but a fun puzzle for others. A glossary at the back helped illustrate the setting. This is all fine, but it is more important that fiction be interesting. Otherwise we might as well read textbooks.Centurion is interesting. It has history, romance without sappiness, warfare without unnecessary gore, an excellent story line, and interesting writing style. Christian readers may find their faith affirmed. Other readers may enjoy without being force-fed a sermon.There was one spot in the middle where I thought about stopping. The story seemed to be headed for a formulaic crisis that I didnt care to read about. I gritted my teeth, read on, and found that I had underestimated the author. Mr. Alford did not nosedive into bathos but kept the story believable and exciting.
Centurion has it all: captivating storyline, impeccable research, plenty of action, and a great balance between the harsh realities of 1st-century AD everyday life and the ideals of a radical fledgling faith.Abenadar is a half-breed bastard of a Galilian mother and a Roman sire. His mother, an outcast living on the outskirts of Nazareth, finds her only friend in Mary, the mother of Christ--also an outcast. Abenadar and Yeshua become friends, and before Abenadar leaves to seek his future as a Roman soldier, Yeshua exhorts him not to forget Adonai.Abenadar finds his calling in the austere life of the Roman camp. His military prowess is quickly revealed--and tested. In battle after battle, Abenadar distinguishes himself, and advances to the rank of Centurion--a position normally reserved for only those of full Roman blood. But inside, he is a man caught between two worlds; fully a Roman warrior, but fully a child of Galilee, who adheres to the precepts of Adonai.He is posted to Jerusalem, where he rescues Ruth, a woman of the streets, from an abusive client. Captivated by her beauty, he seeks her out and rescues her from her life of forced harlotry. The stigma he carries as half-Roman, and hers as a Judean whore, bring them together against a world that accepts neither one of them fully .Yeshua enters the picture once again, and Abenadar's and Ruth's respective worlds collide in the draw of this unlikely prophet. How does the love of a Roman soldier, bound to his oath to Caesar, and a Jewess, bound to her faith in God and the promise of His Messiah, survive through the passion of the King of Kings? The answer lies in the pages of Centurion.L.D. Alford delivers an extremely well written and meticulously researched story that won't let you go. Steeped in Roman martial lore, you'll learn more about the Empire's military organization, weapons and battle tactics than you ever realized existed. But the learning never comes at the expense of the story.
Centurion is a fascinating behind the scenes look into what could have been the life of one of the Gospels most briefly mentioned characters: the Roman guard who crucified Christ. L.D. Alford sweeps the reader into first century Israel and fleshes out the Bible record with incredible attention to detail and a backstory that is both fascinating and compelling. The reader will find themselves marching in step with Abenader and experiencing the same rigors, sacrifice and discipline that turn an ordinary man into one of Romes fighting elite: A Centurion. But it is Abenaders appointment with destiny that is the most fascinating aspect of the book as the reader wonders how he will choose between the life that he loves as a Centurion and the only boy who had ever been his friend in childhood. If you are a lover of ancient times and military action, this book is for you!