The Centurion  -     By: Ken Gire
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The Centurion

Moody Publishers / 2016 / Paperback

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Product Description

The Centurion, by Ken Gire

Meet Lucius, the centurion in charge of Jesus’ crucifixion.  His life would change forever that day, but it would take years for him to realize it. While trying to make sense of what happened, he meets a woman who seems to understand who Jesus was, why he was so different – a woman named Mary Magdalene.  There is an obvious attraction between Lucius and Mary, but each has other roles to carry out. When they finally meet again, will they be on the same side?

Product Information

Format: Paperback
Vendor: Moody Publishers
Publication Date: 2016
ISBN: 080240894X
ISBN-13: 9780802408945

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Publisher's Description

An ambitious Roman soldier. A stunning crucifixion. An unlikely romance. A long war and a chance reunion—the moving parts that make The Centurion a gripping story of love, duty, and sacrifice.

Lucius has always dreamed of military conquest and Roman glory. Little does he know how a routine crucifixion will change him forever.

Curious about this "King of the Jews," Lucius seeks out His followers and falls for one named Mary Magdalene. But all is interrupted when Lucius is called to lead military campaigns. There the hardships of war, year after year, wear him down to nearly nothing.

When Lucius finally returns to Rome, the city has lost its allure. A chance encounter tests his allegiances, and he must decide who he is, what is real, and what is worth dying for.

This work of historical fiction includes an extensive annotated list of sources.

Author Bio

KEN GIRE attended Texas Christian University where he earned a degree in History and Speech. In 1978 he graduated from Dallas Theological Seminary with his Masters in Old Testament Literature and Exegisis. From there he embarked on a career of fulltime writing which has resulted in the publication of more than twenty books, several of which have won prestigious awards.Ken has a heart for helping individuals create space for reflection so as to develop their personal relationships with others and God. While his books speak to the deep seated need of individuals to slow down and live more reflective lives, Ken has also founded a nonprofit ministry to address this issue. Reflective Living works with individuals, helping them to develop a more reflective lifestyle in order that they might experience radical change, authentic relationships and most importantly: a deeper walk with God.

Editorial Reviews

"This book was my introduction to author Ken Gire. As first impressions are critical in securing future readership, The Centurion put Ken Gire on my radar and earned any subsequent novels by him a place on my to-read pile.

I remember the myriad of emotions I felt the first time I viewed Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ. I was a new believer at the time and the brutality of the crucifixion, juxtaposed with the audacity of Christ's love, hit me like a sledgehammer. For me, Gire was able to dredge up the same emotions the movie had created years ago. Not to say his scenes were as graphic, but his writing re-engaged the same emotions. This forged an instant connection for me with the storyline.

A quick internet search revealed to me that Gire has authored both fiction and non-fiction books. Perhaps that is why his blend of fictional narrative with early Roman and church history comes across so effortlessly. In the past, I've often found that when authors skip large portions of time, something gets lost. However in The Centurion, the large lapses in time allow for the development of Lucius' character, as well as highlights Rome's world dominance, mentality, and methods. By concluding the story during the reign of Nero, Gire bookends his work with the theme of persecution. This is particularly applicable to the plight of believers today.

Despite a fair amount of brutality, the story still appealed to me as a female reader. The depiction of Christ's impact in the life of Mary Magdalene, as well as the perseverance of the early church, softened the edges for me. If you only read one fiction title during the Easter season, let it be The Centurion. Pre-order now or pick up your copy when it releases from River North (a division of Moody Publishers) on February 2, 2016.

I received this book free from the publisher through the NetGalley review program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 'Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.' "

Reviewed by Amanda Geaney, NetGalley, Dec 3, 2015

Product Reviews

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  1. Springfield, MO
    Age: 25-34
    Gender: Female
    4 Stars Out Of 5
    Well Written Tale Of The Roman Military Conquests
    December 1, 2016
    Deuce Skunks
    Springfield, MO
    Age: 25-34
    Gender: Female
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 4
    The Centurion is a Christian historical fiction novel by Ken Gire, taking placein Jerusalem and the expandingRoman Empire during AD 33 - AD 65. The book starts with the trial and crucifixion of Jesus of Nazareth, as seen through the eyes of Lucius, a centurion in the Roman army.Intrigued by the unfolding of the day's events, Luciusinquires about this "King of the Jews" and one of his followers in particular, Mary of Magdala.

    As they spend time together, Mary and Lucius fall in love. However,their budding romance is short-lived, as Lucius is called away to help Rome expand her empire. His years at battle are long and harsh, changing this young fierce warrior into a mostly cold leader. When he finally returns to Rome, he questions both his past and his convictions which have led to his present.

    When I firststarted readingthis book, I thought the romance between Lucius and Mary would play a major role, but it's mostly contained to the first and last sections of the novel. About the middle two-thirds of the book is focused on the Roman conquest, depicting Roman battles, militarystrategy, and cultural beliefsin immense detail. At times this detail seems overdone, leading one to want to gloss over a paragraph here and there, although it isn't frequent enough to reallydetract from the overall telling of the story.

    I'm giving this book 4/5 stars. Overall, the book tells an interesting story and is well written. However, the last part of the book seemed rushed, as though trying to wrap up a tale that wasn't quite ready to end so abruptly. While we see a lot of character development during the major portion of the storyline, it isn't clearly depicted as to how or why Lucius comes to the conclusions that he does at the end. While most of his decisions at this point could simply be pawned off on an old and weary warrior, it would have been nice to seehis line of thinking as we did for most of the rest of the story.

    I would recommend this book to those that enjoy historical fiction and Roman history/military strategy. While I originally thought this would be a romance novel, the portions of this book dedicated to the love story between Lucius and Mary are clearly geared for any audience, regardless as to whether or not you enjoy the romance genre.

    *Disclaimer: I received a free print edition of this book from Moody Publishers for the purpose of this honest review. All opinions are my own.*
  2. Age: 55-65
    Gender: Female
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    The Centurion
    July 3, 2016
    Helen M
    Age: 55-65
    Gender: Female
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    The Centurion is a historical novel written by Ken Gire inspired by Biblical scripture. It is the story of Lucius, a Centurion at the execution and death of Jesus. Lucius meets Mary of Magdala and they both experience feeling for the other. Mary has had her fill of men, she does not want a man. She only wants Jesus, He was everything to her.

    As a soldier in the Roman army, Lucius is sent to the Frontier for training and to fight in wars. He does not want to leave Mary, he questions why Mary was brought into his life for him to be set away. After many years of war, Lucius's feelings toward war was changing. He no longer thought of himself as a good man with noble ambitions. He questions if a day will ever come when men will war with words instead of swards.

    Mary moved to Rome. She was always giving of herself. She has seen a lot of miracles and has memories of Jesus. Her life changed forever the day she met Him in Magdala. She would follow Him anywhere and give up anything.

    When Lucius returns to Rome, he finds it has been destroyed by fire. The Christian's are blamed for the fire and are being tortured and killed. Lucius is also told that Mary has been in Rome and he sets out to try to find her.

    This is a good book that is inspired by Biblical scripture but is mostly fictional. The author has done extensive research to write the story true to the time. The author includes her research at the end of the book so the reader can also do research to better understand that time in history and the events that took place. I enjoyed reading about the traditions that were observed at the time of Jesus's death. And the was the armies fought in battle, having different groups of soldiers that would take turns fighting and going back in line so the soldiers were not all fatigued from fighting at the same time. This is a good book, but there is a fair amount of violence within the story. This is a reminder to us of how violent that time in history was.

    I received a copy of the book from Moody Publishing for an honest review.
  3. Indiana
    Age: 45-54
    Gender: female
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    outstanding!
    April 4, 2016
    lcjohnson1988
    Indiana
    Age: 45-54
    Gender: female
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    Every now and then while browsing or looking for books to add to my to be read pile or just for the fun of looking, I am blessed to discover a rare gem. Here is one of those gems. The story follows the life of the centurion who oversaw the orders to crucify three men. Two of them were thieves; one was Jesus Son of God. At the foot of the cross are Jesus earthly mother Mary along with some of those who loved Him from afar and some closely. Of course, there were Romans soldiers there to make sure the orders were carried out to their fullest extent without interruption from the crowd.

    As readers are drawn further into the historical work of fiction, be ready to lose yourself as you follow the years of service this one man gives to Rome. What makes his task harder is that loves a woman who loves the Lord, but one who never sees him as anything other than someone she knows. Over time readers will read how Mary Magdalena spends decades after the centurion goes to the frontier to serve as he has but one goal in mind, to be a general then retire.

    The history that is written in the novel really captures the essence of the times in which the story is set, some of which is drawn from Scripture. The author has done a slew of research which is evident by the descriptions of a Roman centurions life, battles, the loneliness this character feels, and in the end the disappointment that echoes throughout his whole being.

    The author thankfully avoids expounding on the suffering Christ went through as well as the battle scenes; he easily could have made the tale gory. Clearly, the author had other themes he wanted to tell in through the work of fiction. The ending was simply one that stole my breath away and left me thinking of all those who have been martyred for their faith; we know it continues to happen today.

    This one tale brilliantly written for audiences to remember that while Jesus died and rose again, He is still reaching out with open arms to those who will come to Him. We dont know for sure what happened to the many soldiers or the centurion after that day was over, but the author sure tells a very compelling tale sure to grip the heart of any who dare to read the book!
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