Monday, February 23, 2015


When I saw this title listed for review on Netgalley, I was intrigued. When I was approved to review it, I was hopeful and a little excited. Historical fiction has overcome fantasy and horror as my favorite genre. Biblical fiction is especially interesting to me, not because of religion or even spirituality, but because these people lived and their stories- their lives- have lived on for this long.

Maximus is an interesting idea- a Roman soldier sent to Judea in the guise of "a common Jew" (Hebrew would have been a better choice for biblical times, imo..) in order to gather information on Jesus and report to Pontius Pilate whether he may be a threat to Rome or not. Kind of catches your attention, right? Here are my little ticks with the book:
  • It is clear from beginning to end that the book was written by a Christian. Not that there's a problem with that, but I would classify it as Christian Lit, not Historical. The Christian influence is apparent in the character portrayal- again, not really a big deal when you are portraying the first Christians of the time, but the problem goes back to genre...
  • Time actually spent with Jesus is lacking... when Jesus does make an appearance he seems a bit harried and constantly surrounded by bodyguard apostles trying to hold back the multitudes. At other times it feels like a scriptural re-telling of  events. 
I liked Maximus/Jacob and his internal struggles after being away on such long campaigns for Rome, fighting for reasons he doesn't even believe in anymore. I liked that the book never becomes preachy, even when the characters describe the feeling that comes over them when they think of Jesus. I just would have liked Maximus to have had more interaction with Jesus.

Fans of Christian Lit will love this book, I'm sure, and I still would have wanted to read it had it been classified as such. Reminds me a bit of the Left Behind series in style...

MaximusMaximus by Richard L. Black

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

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