Risen: The Novelization of the Major Motion Picture by Angela Elwell Hunt
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
The title gives the book away – it’s about the resurrection of Jesus. Instead of the usual telling from the point of view of His followers, this story is told from the point of view of a Roman soldier.
Clavius is a Tribune, a commander of soldiers in the Roman army. He’s stationed in Judea under the leadership of Pontius Pilate. Soldier to the core, he has pledged his life to Rome. Surrounded by death on a daily basis, it has little meaning to him. Even so, the death of the one the Jews call Yeshua is anything but ordinary.
Rachel is a Jewish woman, widowed without children and left to make her own way in the world. She sells bread in the market to earn her living. Lonely and weak in her faith, she succumbs to the attentions of the handsome Roman officer.
Jerusalem is a simmering pot, ready to boil over. The tomb in which Yeshua was placed has been broken into. His followers claim He has risen from the dead. The Jewish leaders claim the followers have stolen the body and perpetrated a lie on the people. Pilate just wants them all to shut up and go home. He sends Clavius to make that happen.
Clavius finds more than he’s bargained for. His orderly world is rocked by what he discovers. Rachel and Clavius both follow the believers to Galilee. There they come face to face with the decision that will forever change their lives.
I enjoyed the book. It was a fresh look at a story I’ve grown up hearing and reading. I doubt I’ll see the movie, however, because at the end of the book, the author says that one of the main characters does not appear in the movie version. I like this book too much to watch a watered-down version.