~ About the Book ~
Praetorian Prefect Sextus Burrus has spent his life fighting for the glory of Rome, but that glory has lost its shine. As both his health and his career crumble, he is drawn toward the seemingly inexhaustible peace of one of his Jewish prisoners, the Apostle Paul.
The moment Timothy hears his mentor and surrogate father Paul has been arrested, he rushes to Rome. Under the looming threat of execution, Timothy struggles to make sense of what is happening. Finally, an unexpected crisis requires him to reexamine everything, and places their hope for Paul’s freedom on the shoulders of Praetorian Prefect Sextus Burrus.
Read today to see the early Roman Christian church brought to life through the lens of Psalm 42!
Genre: Biblical/Historical fiction
Series: #3 Psalm Series
Release date: 1 September 2018
Publisher: McPherson Publishing
~ Excerpt ~
“Seneca. What are you doing in the castra?”
“Gallio has come from his country estate to visit me. Will you join us for cena?”
“Depends. What are you serving?”
The former consul laughed, a sound made course by the consumption he so often battled. “Whatever you desire.”
“Of course I’ll come. Anyone who can make you rise this early in the day is worth meeting.”
“Excellent. I’ll see you then.” Seneca ambled toward the exit.
If Sextus recalled correctly, Seneca’s brother Gallio had presided over a trial involving the Jewish prisoner that Sextus’s men were guarding. Maybe Gallio would have some insight into the man called Paulos. Stories from the soldiers who had been chained to him in four-hour shifts had made Sextus wish he could spend time with this unusual man. Not one guard had a bad word to offer about the aging teacher. More than one had told of his compassion and kindness, wisdom and understanding, and the way he listened as if you were the only person in the world.
If what they said was true, maybe this Paulos could help make some sense of the thoughts that clamored in his head day and night, stealing his sleep.
Stealing his peace.
Nothing else seemed to be helping.
~ Review ~
I’m really enjoying this Psalm series and the different way each author is shining a light on the meaning and application of their chosen Psalm through fiction. In this third book in the series, the lives of the apostle Timothy and the Praetorian Prefect Sextus Burrus provided an interesting contrast through which to explore Psalm 42, where the Psalmist cries out, “Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Saviour and my God…Deep calls to deep in the roar of your waterfalls; all your waves and breakers have swept over me.” (vv. 5, 7)
I found Sextus Burrus to be the more interesting and better developed of the two main characters, and I loved the historical notes at the end that explained what was actually known about him. The broad outline of the story is based on historical fact in spite of the scant information that has come down to us, but being unfamiliar with Sextus Burrus himself meant that there was an element of surprise in the way the story ended. I recommend not reading up on him before reading this story!
Although I thought Timothy was less developed as a character, it was encouraging to see the way he grew in his faith through the circumstances of this story. So often we think of the apostles as beacons of faith, but they were human too, and the uncertainty that came with Paul’s imprisonment, as well as some other circumstances that arise during the novel, challenged Timothy to examine where his hope lay and to allow God to meet his deepest needs.
The historical setting was well-developed and the writing well-paced. An enjoyable read for lovers of Biblical fiction or those who would like to explore the meaning and application of Psalm 42.
* I purchased my own copy of this novella.
~ Other Books in the Series ~
Read my review for By the Waters of Babylon.
~ About the Author ~
An unapologetic Californian, Carole Towriss now lives just north of Washington, DC. She loves her husband, her four children, the beach, and tacos, though not always in that order. In addition to writing, she binge-watches British crime dramas and does the dishes for the fourth time in one day.