Monday, March 3, 2014

*The Thief...* another stunning piece of Biblical Fiction!

The Thief (The Living Water Series, #2)

I am forever amazed that an author can tell a story about characters whose faces and personalities are lost in the anonymity of history, and who lived in a time so far past in a place I've never visited, and yet that story tugs me in, heart and soul. 
Stephanie Landsem has done it twice so far. 

First, The Well, where she swept me into the story of Shem, a young man from Scripture whom we all know under a new name. I love the way she crafted him as a character. Along with Shem we also met the woman at the well and her daughter Mara, and we followed them on an journey that changed them for eternity. 
That book appealed to friends of mine from age 14 to 50. 

Now, I received my copy of The Thief. 
When a book is as absorbing as this one, I thank God for the gift of words and the gift of writers who string them together into worthy tales.

This is the story of Dismas, the man who asked to be remembered when Jesus came into his kingdom, and in return Jesus promised him paradise. 
And this is the story of his partner in thievery, a slight, shadowy figure called Mouse. 
This story also belongs to a girl named Nissa. Habitually battered by her father, Nissa fights back with the only weapon she has: her words. 
Her reputation is "the girl with the unpleasantly sharp tongue," and no one has ever bothered to listen to her heart. 
With a drunk and a gambler for her mother and father, the burden of provision and protection for herself and her blind brother is on her shoulders.
Nissa will do almost anything to feed Cedron and keep the ragged roof over their heads, and that anything is getting progressively more dangerous. 

While she tries desperately to manage, her devout brother Cedron keeps his ears open to the rumors that swirl at the temple and in the marketplace. Those rumors, of a Man who may be the Messiah, who may be the one to lead the willing Zealots into full-out rebellion, those rumors didn't just stay within Jewish circles.
Rome and her officials fill the city and rule it, doling out the scourgings and executions that enforce the Pax Romana, and Rome is intensely interested in the talk of this prophet like none other. 
This is a Roman's story too. 

On a hunt for the thieving Mouse and for Dismas, Centurion Longinus crosses paths with the fiery Jewess and her beggar brother. 
Longinus will soon witness Cedron's healing under the teachers hands, and when he watches the man-born-blind rise up from the waters of Siloam with full sight, he knows something inexplicable has happened. 
And Longinus is oddly drawn to the fate of this brother and sister.

With so many people moving in and out {and yet never confusing the reader} and so many Biblical events happening, this is a story with action and adventure and humanity and emotion. 
This is a story with depth. Where do I even start? Do I talk about the guilt and poverty that tormented Mouse? Do I mention how strange it was that Dismas would become my favorite character, and that one of his scenes would make me cry?
Do I talk about what a good man Longinus was, with the way he worked to help Nissa, for no reward, and even when it cost him? 
Do I point out how well the theme of Being Worth Dying For is brought out in this story? 

Really, if you don't read much fiction, or much Biblical fiction, or much Christian fiction, give this series a try. 
Present in The Thief are all the elements of a fine novel, and the cliches are nowhere to be seen. Just heart-felt writing that leads to a compelling reading experience. 

Thank you Litfuse for my review copy.

Stephanie Landsem

Stephanie writes historical fiction because she loves adventure in far-off times and places. In real life, she’s backpacked through Germany and Eastern Europe, studied in Salzburg, enjoyed gelato in Italy, rode a camel in Morocco, and floated in the salty Corinthian Sea. Her favorite cities are Rome, Berlin and Budapest. Her travels kindle her imagination, fuel her love of history and foreign culture, and introduce her to one-of-a-kind characters. 
Stephanie is equally happy at home in Minnesota with her husband of 22 years, four children, three fat cats, and a tortoise named Moe. When she’s not writing, she’s feeding the ravenous horde, volunteering at church and school, battling dandelions, and dreaming about her next adventure - whether it be in person or on the page

1 comment:

  1. Thanks so much, Faith! What a lovely review. I appreciate you sharing The Thief with your readers.