About A.D. 30 by Ted Dekker
In A.D. 30, you’ll step back into the year of our Lord, and dive head first into a war that is raging between kingdoms on the earth and in the heart.
The outcast daughter of one of the most powerful Bedouin sheikhs in Arabia, Maviah is called on to protect the very people who rejected her. When their enemies launch a sudden attack with devastating consequences, Maviah escapes with the help of two of her father’s warriors–Saba who speaks more with his sword than his voice and Judah, a Jew who comes from a tribe that can read the stars.
From there, Maviah must secure an unlikely alliance with King Herod of the Jews. It would be a journey filled with great danger. If they can even survive the vast trek across the desert, they will enter into a brutal world run by kings and emperors.
On the way, Maviah crosses paths unexpectedly with another man. An enigmatic teacher who speaks of a way in this life which offers greater power than any kingdom. His name is Yeshua, and his words turn everything known on its head. Though following him may present even greater danger, his may be the only way for Maviah to save her people–and herself.
I signed up to review A.D. 30 based solely on the other books I had read by Ted Dekker. I didn’t really know anything about the book or the plot. Based on Dekker’s previous books that I had read, I expected A.D. 30 to be filled with suspense and plot twists – a thriller that would keep me turning the pages late into the night. So I was a teensy bit disappointed to discover that this book was different. At first glance, it didn’t appear to have any of the mystery or suspense that I normally associate with Ted Dekker’s books. I have to be completely honest that I did not expect to enjoy it at all. I was so happy to be proven wrong! Despite my pre-conceived notions, Ted Dekker once again did not disappoint. A.D. 30 might not share much in common with the author’s previous works, but I found the story of Maviah’s transformation from unloved slave girl to Child of God to be completely enthralling.
At the beginning of the story, Maviah is a former slave, unwanted by her father, and feeling very much alone. A war sets her on a journey that eventually leads to an encounter with Yeshua, which leaves Maviah forever changed. By embracing her new found faith, Maviah is able to become the “queen” that she never quite believed she was.
Although historical fiction is not a genre I usually pick, I quickly found myself caught up in the setting and Maviah’s story. I have never really thought much about the time period in which Jesus walked this earth, other than what I have read in the Bible and what I learned in history class about the Roman Empire. So I really enjoyed learning more about what was going on in the world during this time – the political unrest, the uprisings, the oppression by the Romans. This book does a really great job at exploring what it must have been like to be a woman during this period in history.
Although Maviah and her traveling companions are fiction, others mentioned in the story actually existed, like King Herod, Aretas, his daughter Phasa, Herodias, John the Baptist, and others. You can tell that Dekker has really done his research into this time period and you get the sense that the story really could have fit flawlessly with what we know from the Bible about Jesus’ public ministry.
I loved the way Jesus’ teachings are woven throughout the story as well. Although a fictional story, it really made me think about what it must have been like for people to have actually been there to hear Jesus speak and how they must have been completely enthralled by his radical teachings.
Even though the story was set nearly 2000 years ago, Maviah’s journey throughout A.D. 30 really resonated with me. I too at times am crippled with doubt. I too at times forget the lessons of Jesus and let fear influence my thoughts and actions. I too at times feel like an utter failure. Yet just like Maviah, when I stop letting the fear, doubts, and insecurities have power over me, I can truly see God’s will for me.
All things considered, I really enjoyed A.D. 30. It’s not a book I probably would have ever picked up on my own, but I am so very glad I had the opportunity to read it.
Want to read A.D. 30 for yourself? You can order a copy at FamilyChristian.com.
And now for a fun giveaway. Family Christian Stores would like to bless one A Heart Full of Love reader with a $10 Gift Certificate. The giveaway ends January 14, 2015 and is open to US residents age 18 and older.
Disclosure: I received a copy of the book to review. All opinions stated are my own.