I finally started this series after several months of my sister-in-law telling me how wonderful it was. I am usually not a fan of historical fiction, so I didn't expect to enjoy it, but within a few pages I was completely hooked. Francine Rivers has an absolutely incredible gift for writing compelling, heart-wrenching, achingly beautiful fiction, and that gift shines through in this series.
"An Echo in the Darkness" transfers the focus of the story from Hadassah to Marcus. Although I was initially disappointed with this shift, I soon became enthralled with Marcus's perilous journey for peace. There were some major twists and turns in the plot line that I did not see coming, and they kept me reading at a furious pace!
The amount of historical research Ms. Rivers' must have put into the production of this book is astounding. She paints a vivid portrait of Rome that is both compelling and disturbing. I would warn parents that this series is definitely not for young readers - the content is very mature and includes violence, sexuality, homosexuality, paganism, and mysticism. However, these difficult topics are handled maturely and respectfully, never gratuitously - and they are included because these were major issues in the days of the Roman Empire. I would argue that this series would be a fantastic educational supplement for older teens who are studying the Roman Empire, but parents will probably want to read it first.
It is a very long book and deals with some disturbing issues, but overall it is beautifully written, spiritually challenging, and a pleasure to read. I cannot recommend it highly enough!
Published 10 months ago by bwoodward