A.D. 30: A Novel
by Ted Dekker
I’ve never accepted a request to review a fiction book before as I find Christian nonfiction to be more my forte. But I was asked to review Ted Dekker’s novel, A.D. 30, because of its discussion of women’s issues that might be of interest to me and my blog followers. So, this is my first Christian fiction review and the first time I’ve read any of Ted Dekker’s books at all.
He takes what seems to me to be quite a unique perspective on Jesus’ ministry. Instead of setting the book in Galilee or Jerusalem or focusing the book on any of the people closest to Jesus, such as a disciple or Jesus’ family, Dekker writes from the perspective of Maviah, an Arabic woman. She seems in every way to offer an outsider’s perspective on Yeshua and sometimes it’s that view from the outside-looking-in that offers the freshest voice. She and other characters in the novel struggle to make sense of Jesus’ teachings, such as turning the other cheek and that the Kingdom of Heaven is here, now, within us. As long-term Christians, sometimes we grow blase to the truly dynamic and revolutionary way that Jesus taught. It was wonderful to grapple again with what Jesus really meant by His teachings and remember how He overturned expectations.
Maviah’s story itself is that of an outcast. She has been a slave. She is a single mother. She is, simply put, a woman in a culture where she should have no power and no voice. And yet, her journey takes her to the courts of King Herod and to the shores of Bethsaida where she hears the teachings of Yeshua and meets others familiar to us, such as Nicodemus, the disciples, and the woman who had been bleeding for 12 years.
I liked the freshness of the perspective. Dekker’s writing style is capable and unique, not cliched in either language, emotion or storyline, and I could see this book appealing to both male and female readers. I can’t say that I’m drawn to books about life among the Arabian nomadic peoples in the early first century, so it wasn’t a comfortable read or a particularly relaxing and ‘cozy’ read, but it was fairly compelling. This book begins Maviah’s story and a sneak peak at the end promises more to come in the future.
I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review and the opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”