5 Stars Out Of 5
A riveting, powerful tale!
July 5, 2012
Set in first-century Rome, The Last Disciple weaves together the stories of Gallus Sergius Vitas, a man within the inner circle of Emperor Nero, with the lives of Christians who are experiencing ever-greater persecution for their beliefs. Vitas has committed to serve justice equally for all, and is no longer able to stand by as Nero carries out horrific acts against Christian believers, or while other Roman rulers plunder and steal to their own benefit. Vitas sets out to Jerusalem to investigate the rule of Judea under Florus, the Roman procurator, and ends up witnessing first-hand the mistreatment of the Jews when Florus uses the Roman army to cover up his own abuses. When Vitas returns to Rome to give his report, it is discovered that he has married a Christian, a sect Nero has become increasingly focused on wiping out. Meanwhile, a divine prophecy has emerged from Jesus' last disciple, John, concerning a revelation he received, a revelation that appears to threaten Nero's reign. Nero's closest allies become consumed with deciphering the meaning of the prophecy, while events unfold that place Vitas' very life at risk, along with the lives of those he most holds dear.
Sigmund Brouwer and Hank Hanegraaff have woven a riveting tale, one that has been painted with vivid imagery and haunting details. The characters are well-fleshed out, with much to admire in such persons as Vitas or Sophia or the last disciple, John, but also characters who are so sinister that I shudder to imagine that they actually existed. The historical setting of Rome under the rule of Emperor Nero, combined with his ruthless persecution of Christians, makes for a compelling read, equally entertaining and disturbing at the same time. As I read, I was envisioning the Christians being mauled in the arena by animals or being hung in the city streets and lit on fire, and I found my own faith stirred and inspired by the experiences of the Christians who lived so courageously at that time. I loved the richness that this book brings to details of the Bible, and I am amazed that they were able to take passages of the Bible and debates about prophecies foretold by Jesus in the gospels or by his disciple John in the book of Revelation, and weave these elements into a tale of gripping suspense. Although not all readers may resonate with the stance on prophecy and end times that this book takes, I think that it serves as an excellent alternative to books like the Left Behind series, and it is sure to make you think. Regardless of your beliefs, the book is extremely well-written, fast paced and entertaining, and will give you a greater appreciation for what Christians experienced at the time of the writing of the book of Revelation. The conclusion is powerful and literally had me racing to the last page.
I highly recommend this book and award it 5 out of 5 stars. I can't wait to read the second book in the series!
Book has been provided courtesy of the publisher, Tyndale, for the purposes of this unbiased review.