A few months ago I finished Francine Rivers book Redeeming Love, and I LOVED it. Click HERE to read about it if you missed that post. Anyways, I had several people recommend Francine Rivers' series The Mark of the Lion to me. So, over Christmas break I started the first book in the series A Voice in the Wind. I wish that I could tell you that I picked it up and just whipped it out.... well, that didn't happen. I'm not going to lie... it took me about 100 pages to really get interested and figure out exactly who the characters were. You may ask, "Well, why in the world did you keep reading it?" Great question. I trusted the opinion of the ones who recommended it to me and I wanted to know what they saw in the book. Let me just say that I'm glad that I kept reading it. This book was really great, and I love that it's a series and I get to keep reading about the characters journeys.
If you can get through the first 100 pages, then I know you'll love this book too! It's got 4 main characters: Hadassah, Atretes, Julia, and Marcus- if you just focus on these four and don't get bogged down in all the other names then the story will come together easier for you.
Okay, so short summary: The setting takes place shortly after Jesus' death, burial, and ressurection (some of the disciples are still living) in Rome primarily. Hadassah (about 16 in age) is in Jerusalem when her whole family dies. Rome conquers Jerusalem and she is taken into captivity. She is sold into slavery and begins serving a very prominent family in Rome- the Valarians. She serves Phoebe and Decimus Valarian who have 2 children: Marcus and Julia. Julia is about the same age as Hadassah and Marcus is about 21. Hadassah is quickly assigned as Julia's personal servant. At the same time that Rome conquers Jurusalem, Rome conquers Germany and Atretes (Germanian) is taken into captivity and sold into slavery in Rome as a gladiator.
The book follows the story of these 4 characters and eventually all the stories seem to intertwine together. The best part of the book is the religious aspect of it. Hadassah is a Christian and yet everyone thinks that she is a Jew. It is a criminal offense to be a Christian, and so she does not correct people when they assume that she is Jewish. She struggles to be vocal about her faith and try to share the gospel with the people who she serves and has grown to love. The Valarian family worships stone gods and think that Hadassah's "stories" are entertaining and yet don't think much else of them as far as spiritually. It's so interesting to watch Hadassah grow in her own faith and it was encouraging to me as I was reading.
The love story that also starts to develop between Marcus and Hadassah is very beautiful. I won't give much away on this one.
It's also interesting to read about Atretes as a gladiator and what he had to endure. It was especially neat for me to read about him fighting in the colosseum since we were able to visit it while in Rome this past summer. Here is a picture from our trip in honor of the book and time period:
The books ending is kinda a cliff hanger. None of the story really gets "resolved" or answers some of the questions that it presents. So... that's why you have to read the second and third ones I guess to get the rest of the story. With that being said, I started the second book and look forward to discovering what happens to these four characters.
This series is quickly becoming a favorite! It's a must read (just hang in past 100 pages- it'll all start to come together)!