Titles: The Centurion’s Wife (book 1), The Hidden Flame (book 2), The Damascus Way (book 3)
Authors: Davis Bunn and Janette Oke
Genre: Historical Fiction, Biblical History
Plot: The Centurion’s Wife (book 1) – A Roman Centurion, Alban, is ordered by Pilate to find out what happened to the rabbi called, Yeshua, three days after his burial and death on a cross. A servant of Pilate, Leah has been asked by Pilate’s wife, Procula, to find out what happened to Yeshua as well. Procula thinks her headaches and visions have something to do with him. Behind the scenes, Herod and Pilate are talking about what to do with the disciples and Jewish leaders. While Alban and Leah are searching for what happened to Yeshua, Alban asks Pilate to marry Leah. Pilate accepts, so long as Alban finds out exactly what happened to Yeshua. When he does that, he can take Leah for his wife. Both slowly become accepted by Yeshua’s disciples. They tell Alban and Leah what happened to them. Leah and Alban start to accept to Yeshua as the Messiah. But the Jewish leaders, Pilate, and Herod are closing ranks on the disciples. They want the matter of the ‘dead’ rabbi to come to a nice and neat close. They don’t want to accept the fact that he’s still alive and the Messiah. When Alban gives his report to Pilate and Herod, they are furious, but let him take Leah as his wife. Leah and Alban have grown close over their time searching for what happened to Yeshua. But Herod and Pilate decide to capture Alban so he can’t spread the word. Will he be captured? Or will he find a way to escape with Leah?
The Hidden Flame (book 2) – Leah’s friend Abigail has stayed in Jerusalem to help the believers there. She’s caught the eye of two men, Linux (a Roman soldier) and Ezra (a Jewish merchant and part of the Sanhedrin). Abigail doesn’t wish to marry either of them as they desire her but don’t love her. Neither of them of are believers, as well. Both men try to convince the leaders of the believers that they are a good match for Abigail. But they must wait until Abigail’s guardian, Alban can return to Jerusalem. As they see the signs and miracles the disciples preform, their hearts are changed, one for the better, one for the worse. When Alban arrives, he sees the men’s desires and declines both of their claims to marry Abigail. Her relief is short lived when she is asked to marry Stephen. Abigail agrees. With tensions between believers and the Jewish leaders growing stronger every day, will they be able to stay in the city? Or will they need to flee?
The Damascus Way (book 3) – Julia and her mother live on the outskirts of they city, away from prying eyes. She’s not well accepted in either the Jewish or Roman communities, as she’s Samaritan and Greek. Her world starts to come apart when she learns her parent’s are married and her father has a legitimate family in Damascus. Then she learns that her mother’s servant is a believer. Slowly, Julia learns about the Messiah and becomes a believer. She tries desperately to tell her mother about the Messiah, but her mother won’t listen. Jacob is a guard in her father’s caravan along with Alban. He agrees to protect them along the way to meet a suitor for Julia. But everything changes when they encounter a sandstorm along the way. Her mother has a change of heart. Jacobs starts to learn more about the trading Julia’s father does on the side. Both Jacob and Julia start passing secret messages between other believers. Will that keep them safe? Or will delivering secret messages and supplies put them in great danger? Especially when they are asked to accompany Saul of Tarsus to Damascus. What will happen to them along the way?
Rating: 3.8 – a good historical fiction trilogy
Opinion: This was a sappy romantic, biblical history trilogy. While this wasn’t the most action packed trilogy, I did enjoy it. Though I knew some of the things that were going to happen, because it’s common biblical knowledge, I still found myself learning new things. It was easy to relate to some of the characters because they had the same doubts that modern Christians had. They struggled with the some of the same problems as well. I was a little confused that most of the characters did end up becoming believers. I know more obvious miracles were being performed back then, but it still had me confused on how easily people were becoming believers. Maybe it’s because I’m used to people brushing off things they see and hear much more than they used to. That and maybe I haven’t seen as many people come to Christ as others have. This was still a good trilogy. I loved all of the biblical history and Roman history in the series. While it was slower than the books I normally enjoy, I found myself wanting to know how the characters would overcome their challenges. This is a slow and steady trilogy that’s great for anyone who loves historical fiction with a little sappy romance thrown in.