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 of the first book, 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.
The amount of historical research Ms. Rivers' must have put into the production of these books 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.
Each book is very long (over 400 pages) and deals with some disturbing issues, but overall they are beautifully written, spiritually challenging, and a pleasure to read. I cannot recommend this series highly enough!
Published 20 months ago by bwoodward