Ted Dekker has been called, and rightfully so, the "master of suspense," and that's the way I've come to think of him as an author. His books, though Christian in nature, often shock, frighten, or thrill the reader and that's why I was so interested in reading A.D. 30. I surmised it would be different from his previous works.
I was both right and wrong. The plot centers on the seemingly-impossible predicament of Maviah (the illegitimate daughter of a Bedouin sheikh, Rami, who ruled over "Arabia's northern sands") when powerful enemies destroy everything she holds dear, including her infant son, and it falls to her to seek an alliance with King Herod, ruler of the Jews, unlikely as that may be. Hoping to save her people and grieving for her tiny son, she escapes with two men, both in the employ of her father. Saba is a dark-skinned man of few words, but a powerful warrior, and Judah is a Jewish man who hails from a people who read the stars and a tribe who followed one star to a manger in Bethlehem.
There is much intrigue, danger, violence, and historic back-stabbing in the book and in that regard, Dekker does what he does best--thrills, frightens, and shocks. But in my opinion, that's where the similarity to his other work ends. A.D. 30 struck me as a gentle tale, with powerful and sometimes grave and grievous components, that takes the reader across the relentless desert sands, into the palaces of kings and the hovels of common men, and straight to Jesus Christ.
Judah, with whom Maviah eventually falls in love, is an irrepressible sort, always optimistic and ardent in his desire to seek his Messiah. This desire leads them to Nazareth and Miriam (Mary), the mother of Jesus, and from there to Jesus Himself.
Dekker writes eloquently of the times, describing them in rich detail and as historically accurate as can be done when you consider that scholars have always argued over the timing of certain events. Maviah's journey is fictionalized, but within a framework of documented historical fact. That Dekker can weave even the most mundane detail of life in those days into a vivid tapestry of biblical times is a testament to his abilities as a writer. I highly recommend A.D. 30, and look forward to reading his next book, A.D. 33.
A.D. 30 is available in digital, paperback, and hardcover at Amazon http://tinyurl.com/ng3r4v9, as well as at Barnes and Noble http://tinyurl.com/okvoahj.
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