The Thief: a Novel by Stephanie Landsem intrigued me. A story involving absolute nobodies (and some almost nobodies) at the time of the crucifixion, and the changes in their lives as a result of encountering real hope.
From the publisher:
A Roman centurion longing for peace and a Jewish woman hiding a deadly secret witness a miracle that transforms their lives and leads them to the foot of the cross.If you've read other book reviews I've written, you know I tend to be someone who picks up a book intending to read just one chapter, and I don't set it down until it is done.
Longinus is a Roman centurion haunted by death and failure. Desperate to escape the accursed Judean province, he accepts a wager. If he can catch the thieves harassing the marketplace before Passover, he'll earn a transfer away from the troublemaking Jews.
Nissa is a Jewish woman with a sharp tongue and no hope of marriage. Only with the help of Mouse, the best thief in Jerusalem, can she keep her blind brother, Cedron, fed and a roof over their heads.
When a controversial teacher miraculously heals Cedron, Longinus longs to learn more about the mysterious healer. Instead, his journey leads him to Nissa, whose secret will determine the course of both their futures.
Unexpectedly caught up in the arrest, trial, and crucifixion of Jesus, they wonder who this teacher is who heals others but does nothing to save himself. Is the mercy he offers in his teachings real, or just another false promise? Can Nissa and Longinus overcome their pasts to find a future free of their shackles?
The Thief is an evocative story of two people trapped in their circumstances and the life-changing power of forgiveness and love.
While this book did not quite do that to me, initially, it is still a book I highly recommend. The slow start gives time for plenty of solid character development, and the amount of research Landsem had to have completed is also apparent.
It does really feel like you've been transported to Jerusalem.
One concern I always have with historical fiction that includes major real people as characters (you know, like Jesus!) is whether or not their interaction with the fictional characters is at all believable. Many books I do actually enjoy still have totally unrealistic encounters between characters and real, historical people.
It is much better, however, when I'm reading along and the characters encounter real people and I just keep reading without thinking, "Yeah, right." And that made The Thief more fun to read. I wasn't rolling my eyes at the unlikely coincidences.
Don't miss Stephanie Landsem's outstanding sophomore effort, The Thief.
Best-selling author Tosca Lee had this to say of the book: Filled with memorable characters, The Thief is a tale of hopelessness turned to hope, of high stakes made higher, and ultimate love. What happens when a character at the lowest rung of society crosses paths with the most well-known figure in history? The story of The Thief. I couldn't stop reading.
Stephanie is hosting a Kindle Fire HDX and book giveaway at her website.
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Disclaimer: I received this book through LitFuse Blog Tour. No other compensation was received. All opinions expressed in this review are my own.