2019 Sep 6
A Voice in the Wind transports readers back to Jerusalem during the first Jewish-Roman War, some seventy years after the death of Christ. Following the prides and passions of a group of Jews, Romans and Barbarians living at the time of the siege, the narrative is centred on an ill-fated romance between a steadfast slave girl, Hadassah, and Marcus, the brother of her owner and a handsome aristocrat. After surviving the massacre of her family and the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans, Hadassah is captured and sold to a well-to-do merchant’s family. Brought to Rome, she is pressed into service as a personal slave to hedonistic Julia Valerian.
Hadassah struggles to walk in the footsteps of Jesus and to treat her masters in a manner in keeping with his teachings, but she is forced to keep her religious identity a secret in order to survive. Confused and alone, she has only her faith to cling to as she tries to subtly bring God into the lives of her captors. Reckless, impulsive, and villainous, Julia tries to undermine Hadassah at every turn. But Julia’s brother, Marcus, is a different sort altogether. Is it possible for a love between Hadassah and Marcus to flourish considering not only their differing stations in life but also the gap between Hadassah’s unrelenting faith and Marcus’ lack of belief in anything? Simultaneously, Atretes, a captured soldier from Germania, is forced to become a gladiator. This is the time of Rome’s decline and the decadence of a civilization on the verge of self-destruction serves as a powerful backdrop to the Barbarian’s struggle for survival in the arena.
The first in the Mark of the Lion Trilogy, A Voice in the Wind definitely isn’t your usual novel on Christian faith. Based 70 years after the death of Christ under the tumultuous Roman rule where your choice of religion could very well spell your own death, this novel was borne out of the author’s fascination of martyrdom.
Hadassah’s spiritual journey begins with the devastating death of her family, and each of the other characters- from her love interest Marcus to his sister Julia all have their own relatable struggles that you will still find in today’s society. You’ll find many different elements of the Christian faith incorporated here- the devout, the non-believer, the corrupt, and the sanctimonious- and Rivers’ ability to focus in-depth on the rise and fall of each of these characters throughout the novel while never losing track of the main storyline will truly have you hooked to the very last page. Being set against the strained political backdrop of Ancient Rome just makes this novel all the more intriguing!
While slow-paced and brimming with religious themes, A Voice in the Wind contains enough action, romance and suspense complete with unexpected twists and turns to keep you reading well into the night! The Mark of the Lion trilogy is definitely a series you won’t regret investing in regardless of your own beliefs so give it a shot!