3 Stars Out Of 5
Very Different from His Other Work
January 13, 2015
I have read several of Randy Singers books in the past, including one for my book club. After reading it, we were able to have a chat over the internet with him about what we read; from the time of that discussion, I have been eagerly anticipating this latest novel, The Advocate. It differs from his other work in several ways, most notably in its historical setting.
The detail and setting are incredible. I learned a lot about life during Biblical times, especially how difficult and fearful it was to live in opposition, even secret opposition, to Caesar. The story spans four different Caesars: Tiberius, Caligula, Claudius and Nero. Just the breadth of time in this novel is impressive, and we are witness to many events in Roman history, following the fictional character Theophilus through the course of his life, from student to retired advocate, or lawyer.
Theophilus is a well-drawn character, very fleshed-out, very human. He is largely an honorable man who tries to do the right thing in the right way, despite living in a dangerous and often vicious culture. He makes mistakes, but this adds to the realism, and he struggles with many things that still plague people today.
For me, the best part of this novel was reading a fictionalized perspective of the trial of Jesus before Pilate, and then later, of Paul before Nero. I learned many new things about how trials worked at the time, and even gained some insights that deepened my understanding of the Biblical accounts, too.
I would recommend this novel to historical fans, especially those of Biblical fiction, but with a caveat: due to its sometimes graphic content, I would suggest it is appropriate for mature readers who arent disturbed by details of crucifixion, torture, and a few descriptions of pagan worship in Rome.
While Singers fans will go willingly down this historical path with him, I would not necessarily recommend it for those who devour other modern legal thrillers as this book is very different from his other work; fans of Biblical fiction, however, may be encouraged to try other novels he has written after reading The Advocate.
I received a complimentary copy of this book through The Book Club Network (bookfun.org) in exchange for this honest review.