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Thursday, June 11, 2015

Empire's End

Okay, I must first open this review with a couple of disclaimers and all of which are my own personal opinion which you can take with a grain of salt if you wish, but when I search for a book to purchase, I often sort through the reviews, the good and the bad to help decide if I really want to pick it up and read it, however if it is by an author I love, I will pick it up regardless.

Since I've been a huge fan of biblical fiction, I gravitate towards that whenever possible. I love how some creative authors will take what the Bible story is and add to it, provide filler in order to help us fully understand the role this person may be played in the context we read about them in the Bible. I also understand this will not be your typical re-telling of a Bible story and some liberties will be taken.

Second, I've been a huge fan of Jerry B. Jenkins since his co-authorship of the Left Behind series and countless others, so I naturally wanted to pick this one up. That being said, I was a bit disappointed by his latest novel Empire's End, the story about the life of Paul the Apostle or Saul of Tarsus as he was formerly known. I had thought the television series A.D. was a bit disappointing by their own interpretation of events after the death and resurrection of Jesus, so I was hoping for a bit more than what I found.

The novel opens as a journal-like text from Saul/Paul as he conveys his story of his journey apart from what we gain from the Bible. It picks up with a brief overview of Saul's initial conquest as persecutor of Jesus follower's beginning with Stephen, and his subsequent conversion on the Damascus Road where he lost his eyesight and discovered Jesus in a vision. The majority of the book tells about his journey after being lowered down the wall of Damascus as those there sought his arrest for being a follower of the Way, or Jesus Christ. He flees on a horse that is spiritually led across the desert by interaction from a conversation with God to arrive at a Bedouin camp in the Arabian desert when he encounters the family of the very man he persecuted.

This is where the story is a bit confusing for me, because it deviates from the Bible in such a manner that a believer in Christ would find this one a little hard to swallow. (Sorry Mr. Jenkins, but I truly LOVED all your other novels). To think that perhaps Paul had come to terms with the widow of Stephen and spent time there while awaiting God's next instruction, was hard to come to terms with. I would have preferred if the story stuck to the role of Saul/Paul's life from the Bible instead of deviating so much from the original. It truly wasn't what I was hoping for, nor what I found. in fact more than half the book was about this spiritual journey of Paul's as he studied under the guidance of morning inspirations and visions of God where he was staying.

I understand that this is strictly a fictional story and was hoping for a bit more knowing how much Jerry Jenkins follows the Bible in past novels but in my opinion this was not the case here. There is no record this didn't happen in Paul's life, but then again, there is no record it did either if we are to take the Bible at its face value. I think that is perhaps what has disappointed so many readers of this book was the expectation it would follow some road map of Paul's life from the Bible with some filler added in to make it seem more alive. For me, this one didn't hit home.

I received Empire's End by Jerry B. Jenkins compliments of Worthy Publishing and Icon Media Group for my honest review. I did not receive any monetary compensation and the opinions contained here are strictly my own and others might feel quite differently about this novel over what I did. I would rate this one a 3 out of 5 stars. The book I, Saul was the precursor for this novel.

For more information about Empire's End, Jerry B. Jenkins or where to pick up a copy of this book today, please click on the links below:

You can find Jerry B. Jenkins on Facebook to stay up to date on all his latest novels.

You can read more reviews on Empire's End by visiting Worthy Publishing's website.

1 comment:

  1. I had some of the same feeling about this one as you. I loved I, Saul, but this one just didn't do it for me. I also rated it 3 stars. Thanks for your review.


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