PW Starred review. Afshar, Christy award-winner for her 2013 novel Harvest of Gold, once again brings historical detail to vibrant life, this time focusing on the city of Corinth—center of first-century CE commerce and culture—and the family of fictional Galenos. Galenos’s daughter, Ariadne, has lived with her oppressive mother and grandfather in a villa near Athens ever since her parents’ divorce as a child. Now 16, she flees to her father’s home in Corinth, where she quickly discovers the family secret: her father is the famous Honorable Thief, who robs only the richest and most unscrupulous citizens. Ariadne faces challenges in her new life, among them the displeasure of the city’s women who think she is ridiculous when she enters a prestigious race at the Isthmian Games, as well as the contentious relationship with her foster brother, Theo. Despite this, she is bent on helping her father, even if it means becoming a thief herself. But then, abruptly, Galenos and Ariadne’s lives are transformed when Ariadne’s brother, Dionysus, arrives from Athens with his friend, Paul of Tarsus. Paul’s teachings bring healing to the family, and particularly to Ariadne, who must face her selfishness and pride. Afshar again shows her amazing talent for packing action and intrigue into the biblical setting for modern readers.
Fearless. Bold. A survivor. This is Ariadne. After escaping her mother’s cruelty in Athens, Ariadne returns to the exciting but corrupt city of Corinth only to discover her estranged father’s dark secret: he is the Honorable Thief of Corinth. Hungry for revenge after years of abuse, Ariadne joins her father’s thieving after a catastrophe at sea leaves the family in financial ruin. When a missionary named Paul arrives, Ariadne resists his message of love and grace. But without the lessons of Paul’s Unknown God, her lust for vengeance could cost Ariadne her innocence, her reputation, or even her life. Afshar brings to life the gripping tale of one woman’s struggle to choose between rebellion and love. This work of biblical fiction does not require biblical knowledge and offers superb momentum, exhilarating scenes, and moving themes of love and determination. Afshar’s lyrical approach to Ariadne’s voice makes for a relatable protagonist wrestling with timeless questions of worth and belonging in this exquisitely realistic portrait of the early missionary Paul.
Set in first-century Corinth, this latest novel from Christy Award winner Afshar (Bread of Angels) is another beautifully written tale based on the New Testament. Ariadne, tired of living in her mother’s house after her parents’ divorce, flees to Corinth and her father’s home. When she finds out that he makes his living as a thief, she begs to help him recoup the ill-gotten gains of the wealthy and corrupt. But their lives are endangered when the wrong person discovers their secret. Through rabbi Paul, they learn of a God who heals and forgives. Receiving grace and mercy for their sins and forgiveness is something they never thought could happen. VERDICT: Afshar’s well-drawn characters and lushly detailed setting vividly bring to life the ancient world of the Bible. A solid choice for fans of Francine Rivers and Bodie and Brock Thoene.
Brilliant and beautifully written, with authentic research and strong characters, this story brings the land and times of the Bible to life and reveals more of ourselves than we might imagine.