By: Lin Wilder
Publisher: Wilder Books
Publication Date: December 2018
Reviewed by: Amy Lignor
For anyone looking for one of those easy, cozy reads, this is not it. For someone who is looking for a fantastic plot of the ancient world filled with suspense, romance, and history, this is definitely the book you want. Not only is this a well-researched book that allows the reader to actually feel as if they are walking the streets in Judea and living within this realm, it’s also a book that does not avoid controversy. It simply is a plot so well-crafted that the controversy comes second to the characters you will never forget.
Claudia is the wife of one of the most controversial, and some would say horrific, men to have lived in the ancient world. She is a woman who appears briefly in the Bible, in a single verse of the Gospel of Matthew, where she attempts to persuade her husband not to condemn Jesus to death. But this writer, the award-winning author of the Lindsey McCall Medical Mystery series, takes that person and quite literally turns her into someone readers of today can relate to.
Claudia is the daughter of the last Oracle at Delphi. She has a past that is more than amazing, but her need—at seventy-nine-years of age—to make sure her story is left behind for others who come after causes one to become enthralled. All Claudia wants is for people to better understand who she was and what her life entailed; and what Claudia “speaks” takes us back to a time that a great many will say changed history forever.
We hear about her birth and her intricate education. We also hear about the marriage to Pontius Pilate, where Claudia does her absolute best to show facets of this man in a good light. Unlike the difficulty you may have with Pontius Pilate and his ultimate wrongdoing, you will actually love the character of Claudia at the onset of the book. The life created for this woman is a mind-blowing walk through history, and your empathy for her will grow as you understand the battle that went on between her head and her heart when it came to her husband. The focus of this tale is Jesus—from his arrest to his eventual persecution, prosecution, and hanging from the cross as told through the eyes of Claudia as she witnesses the end of what many call the true prophet of the people.
The historical research that went into this book is stunning. And for those like me who love history, it made it a book to remember and recommend for a long time to come. But what may be the most incredible thing is the fact that the author walks that thin line all writers know about without ever falling off. To explain, this is not a book that preaches. This is not a book that tells you what is right and what is wrong; what is sinful and what is not. The reader never feels as if they are stuck in a classroom, nor do they ever feel judged. What they do feel, however, is a kinship to Claudia. They also come away with a feeling of satisfaction, as if they’ve seen life and understand it just a bit better than they did before. There is a very truthful love story presented in these pages, and being able to “meet up” with icons such as Socrates, is an added benefit.
Quill says: This is a compelling mixture of research and imagination, and deserves a place in every reader’s library.