-A guest blog post by Thief of Corinth author Tessa Afshar-
Thief of Corinth is a story about choices. In the prologue of the novel, as Ariadne struggles to explain why she became a thief, she writes, “the choices that lead us into broken paths often have their beginnings in more convoluted places.” In other words, our bad choices sometimes have deep and complicated roots. If you examine your own life, you may find that the impetus behind your worst choices, choices that swerved the course of your destiny, were ancient wounds that never quite healed.
Ariadne’s life is fractured after her parents’ divorce. For years, she lives under the authority of a harsh grandfather. Worse still is her mother’s emotional distance and refusal to protect and champion Ariadne against the cruelties of her grandfather.
When she runs away from her grandfather’s home, Ariadne has one goal in mind: freedom. But somewhere deep within, she has come to equate freedom with rebellion. Ariadne chooses to make the old wounds of a painful life an excuse to do as she wishes.
Her intentions are good. She wants to use her extraordinary athletic abilities and creativity to help her father. But she wants to do so on her own terms.
Ariadne’s choices lead her to adventure and danger and, eventually, to the wrong side of the law. It is this subtle thread of rebellion that I wanted to unravel with Thief of Corinth. While most of us don’t end up flagrantly violating the law, many of us do struggle with our own version of rebellion. Like Ariadne, we insist on having our own way in order to cover the pain of old wounds.
Ariadne is spunky, funny, and in many ways endearing. But she is not self-aware. She makes selfish and rash decisions and calls them helpful. She resents Paul and the faith he represents. The faith that is slowly transforming her family and the man she loves.
Only when disaster strikes does Ariadne finally learn to open her heart to the miraculous love of a God who has a tender spot for thieves. With wonder, she discovers that surrendering her life to Jesus does not mean the end of her freedom, but rather, the beginning of healing. God “did not want to hold my hand; he wanted to have my soul,” she says. “He wanted me. The broken and the good in me. And he wanted to love me whole. What I had always hungered for, he wanted to give me. But the price was my life. The end of defiance and self-rule. The end of arrogance and vanity. He wanted a child who would burrow her face in his neck and trust him with her broken future.”
I wrote this novel in part for readers who have been asking me for a book that they could share with loved ones who are not practicing Christians. The storyline is lighter than most of my other books, with a lot of humor and adventure. And of course, there is romance! The element of faith does not come into the story until later in the plot. My hope is that readers will find a fun read that will leave them laughing and crying, while very subtly coming face-to-face with a God whose love undergirds and heals our own broken attempts at love.
Thief of Corinth by Tessa Afshar
First-century Corinth is a city teeming with commerce and charm. It’s also filled with danger and corruption—the perfect setting for Ariadne’s greatest adventure.
After years spent living with her mother and oppressive grandfather in Athens, Ariadne runs away to her father’s home in Corinth, only to discover the perilous secret that destroyed his marriage: though a Greek of high birth, Galenos is the infamous thief who has been robbing the city’s corrupt of their ill-gotten gains.
Desperate to keep him safe, Ariadne risks her good name, her freedom, and the love of the man she adores to become her father’s apprentice. As her unusual athletic ability leads her into dangerous exploits, Ariadne discovers that she secretly revels in playing with fire. But when the wrong person discovers their secret, Ariadne and her father find their future—and very lives—hanging in the balance.
When they befriend a Jewish rabbi named Paul, they realize that his radical message challenges everything they’ve fought to build, yet offers something neither dared hope for.