Title: A.D. 30
Author: Ted Dekker
Publisher: Center Street
My rating is 4 stars.
Maviah is a young, middle eastern woman who has returned home to her father’s house in disgrace. She was born as an illegitimate child to her father and a woman from the lowliest tribe. She was sold into slavery as a baby to Egyptians. While growing up as a slave, she was taught to read and knew several languages. However, she fell in love with another slave and was discovered to be pregnant so she was returned to her father. Her father never had concern for her or cared for her that is until he needed her. One night her father, the king, had his tribe attacked by a rival tribe. The odds were overwhelming and her father and his forces were going to lose. He gives Maviah an impossible task from her viewpoint. He asks her to go to King Herod and broker an agreement for Herod to get Rome to agree to an alliance with his tribe. Maviah undertakes the task to gain her father’s love and approval as well as to restore his honor.
Maviah sets out quickly on her journey with two male slaves, one of which is a Bedouin Jew named Judah. They must cross an unforgiving desert to reach Herod, gain an audience with him, get him to go to Rome and broker an alliance for them. No problem for a lowly female salve, right? She experiences many trials and falls in love with Judah, who is searching for Jesus. They find Jesus and so much more than they expected.
Ted Dekker has the God-given gift of storytelling. No matter the theme of his fictional stories, I know that there will be a good story involved. This book is no exception. The idea of telling about a middle eastern slave woman’s first encounter with Jesus was unique to me. I learned a lot about the culture during the first century from Maviah’s point of view. She had terrible things happen to her, but kept living to restore honor to her family and tribe, seek justice and perhaps get revenge. Then, she met Jesus. Her entire outlook on life changed in a moment. She could feel his power and knew he saw her very soul when he looked at her. She still had moments of reverting to her old self (don’t we all!), but the power of Jesus reminded her she was a beloved child of God. This was a powerful transformation. While this book is fictional, there is something for everyone to learn from its telling. I look forward to Maviah’s continuing story in A.D. 33, so watch for my review!