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The Mark of the Lion Trilogy – Francine Rivers

Titles: 1 – A Voice on the Wind, 2 – An Echo in the Darkness, 3 – As Sure as the Dawn

Author: Francine Rivers

Genre: Historical Fiction

Plot: Book 1 – Jerusalem is attacked and destroyed under order of Titus. Hadassah’s family has all died of starvation or by the Roman sword. She’s taken captive and sold into slavery in Rome. Her masters the Valerians, and is takesked with serving Julia, a vain and selfish young woman. Marcus, her brother is helping with their father’s trade business. Hadassah does well and tells her masters stories about her faith without telling anyone she’s Christian, and not Jewish. Her faith would get her killed if anyone knew, a Roman law. Hadassah wants to tell her masters about her faith, but will they hear an and believe? Can the Balerian family see past their delish desires and love each other? Or will someone else get in the way?

Book 2: The Valerian family thinks that Hadassah is dead. For now, she’d like to keep it that way. The lioness left deep scars, physically and mentally. A physician in training, Alexander, took pity on her and saved her from death. Hadassah became his assistant when she was healed. In God’s name, she helped heal others. She earned the name, Rapha (Aramaic for healer). This caught the attention of Julia, who’s dying from all sorts of things after a party lifestyle. But there’s nothing she or Alexander can do. Hadassah begs to let Alexander to let her stay and help Julia. He’s hesitant because he knows about their relationship. Eventually he agrees. When Marcus returns from his journey of self discovery and faith, he finds out about Julia and has her stay at their family’s houses. Hadassah is reunited with the whole Valerian family in disguise as Rapha. Hadassah tries hard to bring them to faith. Can everyone be saved? Or will death take them first?

Book 3: Atretes was a German and member of the Chatti tribe. During the events of the first book, he was taken captive by the Romans and trained to fight as a gladiator. He earned his freedom after 10 years of fighting. He learned he had a son with Julia and wants to get him back now. A widow named Rizpah has been caring for his son since Hadassah brought him to her. Atretes tries to care for his son, Caleb, with the help of a wet nurse, but he only wants Rizpah. Reluctantly, Atretes brings Rizpah back. They form an uneasy truce. Atretes is also desperate to get back to Germania. An old ‘friend’ wants to see him in the arena as a gladiator again. The two of them must escape before this happens. Rizpah knows of other Christians who are traveling towards Germania and let both of them join. But traveling with them is a former Roman officer turned Christian. Atretes hates the very idea of him leading them to his homeland, but it’s the only option. Everyone on the journey tries to tell Atretes about Jesus but he wants none of it. It takes a miracle for him to see the truth. After the miracle he wants to share the truth with his people. But will they accept the truth? Or will they die in the process?

Rating: 4.0 – a great historical fiction series

Opinion: This was a great trilogy. I read this in high school and wanted to read it again. There were a few things I remembered but I forgot a lot. I forgot how much the ending of the first one pissed me off. I loved the history, sappy romance, and Christianity. I’ve always felt like this author did her research for books and this book is no different. I love how the author writes the characters. Everyone has a distinct personality. It’s easy to relate or hate a character. One of the things that bugged me was that the ending of the third book felt a little rushed. The third one also didn’t feel as connected to the other two. I loved this trilogy. It’s every bit as good as I remembered it. This is a great trilogy for anyone who loves historical fiction, sappy romance, and faith based stories.

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