Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ  -     By: Carol Mcd. Wallace
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Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ

Tyndale House / 2016 / Paperback

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Ben-Hur A Tale of the Christ by Carol Wallace

Prolific author Carol Wallace has updated the classic tale penned by her great-great-grandfather over a century ago to make it more readable for a modern audience.  The iconic character of Judah Ben-Hur comes to life again.  Betrayal and an unjust sentence instill hatred in the heart of Ben-Hur, but meeting Jesus of Nazareth causes him to reconsider his desire for retribution.   

Product Information

Format: Paperback
Number of Pages: 425
Vendor: Tyndale House
Publication Date: 2016
Dimensions: 9.00 X 6.00 (inches)
ISBN: 1496411064
ISBN-13: 9781496411068

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Publisher's Description

As one of the bestselling stories of all time, Lew Wallace’s Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ has captivated and enthralled millions around the world—both in print and on the big screen. Now Lew’s great-great-granddaughter has taken the old-fashioned prose of this classic novel and breathed new life into it for today’s audience.

Coming to theaters in August 2016 as Ben-Hur, a major motion picture from MGM and Paramount studios, the story follows Judah Ben-Hur, a Jewish nobleman whose childhood friend Messala betrays him. Accused of trying to murder the new Roman governor in Jerusalem, Judah is sentenced to the galley ships and vows to seek revenge against the Romans and Messala. But a chance encounter with a carpenter from Nazareth sets Judah on a different path.

Rediscover the intrigue, romance, and tragedy in this thrilling adventure.

Also included: the inspiring story-behind-the-story of Lew Wallace—Indiana lawyer, author, and Civil War general.

Editorial Reviews

When Judah Ben-Hur, a Jewish prince alive during Jesus Christ’s lifetime, is wrongly accused of attempting to assassinate the Roman governor of Jerusalem by his childhood friend Messala, the Romans enslave him and capture his mother and sister. While working in the galley of a battleship, Ben-Hur saves the life of a Roman tribune, Arrius, who decides to adopt the former prince, change his name to Young Arrius, take him to Rome, and train the boy in the Roman ways, including the popular sport of chariot racing. While searching for what may have happened to his family, Ben-Hur takes advantage of an opportunity to challenge Messala to a chariot race. After establishing himself as a fierce competitor, Ben-Hur is persuaded to train an army that will support the rightful king of the Jews—who some believe to be a man from Nazareth. Unbeknownst to Ben-Hur, the true savior has different plans. Wallace (To Marry an English Lord)—the great-great-granddaughter of the author of the original Ben-Hur, Lew Wallace—has done a fine job of revising the text for modern readers. The narrative assumes some Biblical knowledge, as Ben-Hur comes into contact with characters from well-known Bible stories, including a wise man and Jesus himself. Patches of awkward dialogue contrast the lyrical, cinematic descriptions of Ben-Hur’s struggles and triumphs. The epic novel, spanning about 12 years of Ben-Hur’s life, will be relished not only by fans of Christian fiction, but any reader who craves historical accounts of high adventure, action, and drama.

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  1. 2 Stars Out Of 5
    Was Disappointed. :(
    July 21, 2016
    Hookmeinabook
    Quality: 2
    Value: 2
    Meets Expectations: 2
    This review was written for Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ.
    Ben-Hur is the story of Judah Ben-Hur, a Young 17 year old boy who is a prince in Israel. The book opens with Judah waiting for his friend, Messala, A Roman boy who went away to study and Judah has not seen in 5 years . When they finally meet, Judah is surprised at how old Messala looks. As they talk, Judah discovers that it is not only Messala's looks that have changed but his views as wel. He used to not care that Judah was Jewish, but now he had a Roman way of thinking and during their conversation, He talks bad about Jerusalem, Judah's faith and the sheltered life that Judah's has lived. Judah is confused and mad about what his friend said but is helped by some advice given by his mother. The next day Judah is on the roof of their palace watching the procession for the new Procurator, Valerius Gratus. He tries to get a better look and knocks a loose tile off of the edge and it hits the Procurator right on the forehead. Immediately, Soldiers break down the door and arrest Judah and his family. Messala comes in the house and Judah is thankful because his friend knows he would never hurt anyone. But Messala pronounces them all guilty of attempted murder and sends Judah's Mother and Sister to jail and Judah was to be sent to the Galleys.

    To be sent to the Galley was a death sentence because you were sent to a roman war ship and with several other prisoners and forced to row the oars for the rest of your life. Most people did not last more then a year in the Galleys. Judah was on his way to the Galley when he collapsed of exhaustion. The soldiers were making him walk the desert with no water and he was practically being dragged behind their horses. As the soldiers got some water in the small town of Nazareth, Judah is given water by a young carpenter who defied the soldiers orders to not give any water to the prisoner. This gave Judah hope to continue on to the Galleys and whatever God had planned for him. The book skips to about three years later when a new commander was coming aboard the ship that Judah was currently working on. Commander Quintus Arrius was not new to war and the galleys but was intrigued by one slave that appeared to be about 20 years old. He questioned Judah about why he is in the galleys and is shocked that he has survived for so long. After he has spoken with Judah he is still thinking about his story when the fleet are forced into battle against a band of pirates. As the slaves were being chained to their seats, Commander Arrius tells them to leave Judah unchained. This single act is what saved Judah's life. A few hours later ( or minutes, the book does not say) the battle intensifies and the ship catches fire. Judah manages to escape by jumping off the burning ship and he finds a piece of wood floating that he manages to climb on. As he is floating he spots Commander Arrius and saves him from drowning. Commander Arrius and Judah are rescued by a Roman ship and Commander Arrius adopts Judah as his son and his heir. Judah stayed with Arrius until he died, Then he left to discover what happened to his mother and sister. As Judah reaches Antioch, the home of the Hur Family's steward. He is met with suspicion as to his identity. The steward has been questioned and almost beaten to death by Roman soldiers in order to find the Hur fortune so he is not sure Judah is who he says he is. After Judah meets with the steward to convince him that he is Judah Ben Hur, He wanders around and ends up in the Grove of Daphne, a place where your every desire could be met for the sake of pleasing the idols of Rome. The Steward sent someone to follow Judah because he wanted to see what kind of person Judah was. While in the Grove, Judah saves the life of a old man and his daughter and through them, he meets the Sheik who owns the most beautiful Arabian Horses that Judah had ever seen. After speaking with the Sheik, Judah decides to enter into the upcoming Chariot race, especially since he discovered Messala was also racing and Judah remembers that sometimes people get hurt or killed in the arena, that it is just part of the sport. Will Judah kill Messala out of revenge? Will Messala recognize Judah?

    Looking at the bigger picture... Will Judah ever be able to find out if his mother and sister are still alive and if they are... Where are they?

    What did I think of the book?

    I liked the movie better. The book was OK,

    Again I want to say that I have not read the original book, so I do not know about the accuracy of the book. but I did not like how Judah was portrayed. In the movie, his faith is strong and it is his belief in God that helped him to get through his time in the Galleys, In the book, it is his quest for revenge against Messala for destroying his family. Yes it is the Tale of the Christ but on the only Biblical part, When Balthasar was speaking about seeing Baby Jesus, He told the story wrong. In the Bible it says that the Wisemen went to King Herod and asked him where was "the King of the Jews" born ,after that they found the Baby and were told in a dream to go home a different way... In the book, Balthasar says that they found the Christ Child and then were told in a dream to go to King Herod and ask where the "King of the Jews was born.

    Overall, I thought the story was OK, But it was a very long book and tt had some graphic scenes, like the battle on the ship and there was also a riot. I give the book 2 out of 5 Stars. **

    I would like to thank Tyndale House Publishers for allowing me to read and review this book in return for a free copy and I was not asked to write a favorable review, Just a honest one.
  2. 5 Stars Out Of 5
    Loved It!
    July 20, 2016
    Quiet Reader
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    I've known about a 2016 movie adaptation of "Ben-Hur" for some time, and have felt pretty excited to see how it will be. Thus, I was eager to read this novel and find out how (if the movie directors decide to stick to the book) what it would be like. Now, I've never read the original novel, and I've only seen the 1959 film with Charlton Heston once, but if the 2016 movie is anything like this newest book version of "Ben-Hur", it's going to be good!

    At first, at receiving this book, I was a bit daunted at the amount of pages it contained (425 total)- perhaps because I hadn't looked beforehand and had been expecting a thin little movie adaptation. Turns out, that's not exactly the case- it's not even a movie adaptation- but I don't think it could have been done so well any other way.

    While the book is slightly longer than some books, it didn't loose my interest for a moment. The climatic chariot race scene, which, in certain circumstances, could have turned out long, drawn-out, and even perhaps a little boring, was anything but- it was crafted in such a way that my eyes flew across the page in anticipation. And while some may not like the fact that the story switches between multiple character's points of views (more than five), it was that fact that intrigued me and made it so much more interesting. This is, I think, what made and didn't break the chariot scene I previously mentioned. A lot, I think, rode on that scene, and it was done beautifully.

    The characters themselves, even the not-so-nice ones, were done beautifully, as well. I fell in love with all (or, mostly all) of them from the beginning. I had compassion for Judah, and though he isn't by any means a saint, that makes him more of a believable character. The other characters in the book were wonderful as well, making me wonder why some had never been in the 1959 movie version (and hoping they would be in this next one!).

    One other plus for this movie is how they did portrayed Christ- He wasn't in it much, but I liked the way the incorporated Him into the story. I'm not really fond of Biblical-time-period books or movies that try to have Jesus in their story, but this one is an exception.

    In anticipation for the movie, I also enjoyed looking through the full-color photos from the upcoming film that were at the center of the book.

    One of the only downfalls with this book was the ending. It was good, but not quite what I was expecting.

    Still, after reading such a great novel, I look forward to seeing the movie---only, I must confess, though I'm not normally a big book purist, I am for this one!

    Note: I got this book free from Tyndale in exchange for doing a review. All opinions are my own.

  3. 5 Stars Out Of 5
    great read!
    July 8, 2016
    Mark
    Quality: 5
    Value: 4
    Meets Expectations: 5
    The author attempted to put her great, great grandfather's novel in more modern language and make it more interesting for today's readers. I have never read the original to know what it was like, but I have read the movie and it seems to stick to it pretty well.

    Since I never read the first book, I shall treat this as a new book I have never read, instead of an updated version of the book.

    The book is set in the time of Jesus and centers around a young Israelite prince wrongly accused of attempted murder and betrayed by his best friend. It follows his imprisonment and life afterwards with his path crossing the path of Jesus several times. It was indeed an interesting and easy read, and was a book I didn't want to put down, but had to several times. The author brought the book to life in such a way that it was easy to picture the scenes in my mind.

    My one complaint is the author skipped over the resurrection and Judah coming to believe in Christ, though they were referenced later in the book. I liked the whole plot, setting, and characters. One part of the book that stood out was the famed chariot race. The author did a tremendous job of describing that in (I think) more pages than the original book spent on the race.

    The book contains some photos from the movie, along with a mini biography about the original author.

    This book was given to me in exchange for my honest review.
  4. Age: 18-24
    Gender: Female
    4 Stars Out Of 5
    A Beautiful Retelling
    July 6, 2016
    The Modest Maiden
    Age: 18-24
    Gender: Female
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    Ben-Hur is a book I had long ago fallen in love with. I enjoy the action, and the drama, and the story behind Judah Ben-Hur's history. And as a rule....I don't the rewritten work by modern authors. I actually like the old fashioned prose of bygone centuries. But the original book by Lew Wallace was kinda hard to read. It took me weeks, and I didn't really get into the story until nearly a quarter of the way through. So this was one of the books I wasn't sure about, and let me tell you, I LOVE the reprinted version. Written by Carol Wallace, Lew's great, great, great granddaughter, I appreciated the fact that the rewritten version was still authored by the same family. There were a few details added, most of which I enjoyed, and there were a few details taken away -- mostly the long, drawn out descriptions of the landscapes. the few details that had been added that I didn't like were the ones between Judah and Iris, and Judah and Esther. I liked the "romance" of the older book, which was more subtle and sweeter. No encounters between them were added, more detail was just given. Thoughts and emotions that left you guessing in the original book were added in the newer one, and not all of them were particularly necessary. A good comparison would be between the old Pride and Prejudice movie, and the new one -- both really good, really sweet, but more detail in the newer one =) I would caution letting younger readers read it -- same as the old one, the details given in parts might be too suspenseful.

    I recieved a free copy of this book from the publisher in return for an honest review
  5. Indiana
    Age: 45-54
    Gender: female
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    great classic with a couple new twists
    July 5, 2016
    lcjohnson1988
    Indiana
    Age: 45-54
    Gender: female
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    What a captivating and enthralling story Ben-Hur is along with a short history of Lew Wallace who wrote the original story in the 1800s! When you read this novel, dont expect or compare this to Lew Wallaces story as both are unique and inspiring. Most people my age are familiar with the Ben-Hur movie that starred Charleton Heston in the 1950s. A new Ben-Hur movie will be released in August 2016. Again, for some, it may be really hard not to compare, but please dont as they are different in many ways and yet the central character is still Jesus. As I read the novel, there were aspects of the tale of Christ that I remembered from the original story, but this time I got to read a different perspective in other parts of the novel.

    I own a copy of the original novel in paperback form, and it is a trial to read because of the language back then, but it is still something to be treasured. I loved Carol Wallaces Ben-Hur for many reasons besides it being easier to read. Carol brings to the forefront a gripping tension between Judah Ben-Hur and his friend the Roman Messala right from the beginning. She highlights the vast differences in the way the young teens were raised with different ideologies and beliefs. Judah Ben-Hur is a young teen unsure of his way in life. Messala is a few years older and Roman to the core. The Jewish community wants a king who will come and throw off the Roman yoke, but what is it the Christ is bringing?

    I learned a lot more of the history of Lew Wallace and the movie Ben-Hur with what is included in the book and I am so thankful. To be given an understanding of why Lew Wallace wrote his novel, his life and trials along with triumphs should speak to our generation today. Carol Wallace being his great-great-granddaughter offers us a view into Lew and Susan Wallaces life along with their son Henry Lane Wallace. Henry Lane Wallace made sure that the heart of the novel always remained and that it is still today a tale of the Christ. I hope you read Carols novel and Lews original version too as each will speak to your heart. I hope you will enjoy the newest movie coming to theatres in August as well as enjoy the classic movie that won many Oscars.

    Above all, I hope and pray that you will consider who Christ is and find Him as your Savior, plus see the history of the Jewish nation with new eyes. While this is a work of fiction, it does contain many scenes from Scripture that you can read and meet Jesus there. He is alive and real today and willing to embrace anyone who turns to Him! Thank you to Carol Wallace for undertaking what was sure an uneasy task and doing a brilliant job! People can visit Lew Wallaces home in Indiana and see what else Lew and Susan wrote many years ago at www.Ben-Hur.com.
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