Friday, May 24, 2013

Mark of the Lion series by Francine Rivers

I started this series back in December and even though it took me a long time to finish, it is one of the best series I have ever read!  It's The Mark of the Lion series by Francine Rivers:

Let me tell you, I was really hesitant to start these books.  I gave in and read Redeeming Love by this same author a few years ago and loved it but for some reason I was still hesitant about Christian fiction.  I mean the covers do look a little romance novel-ish don't they?

Voice in the Wind is the first book in the series.  It is the story of Hadassah.  The story opens with her city Jerusalem being destroyed by the Roman army.  Her family is killed and she is captured and sold as a slave to the Valerian family.  So much happens in this book!  The first few chapters are a little slow but things quickly pick up.  Julia Valerian is so messed up and by the end of the book you will hate her.  Marcus too is very troubled but you root for him.  And Hadassah is remarkable.  She really shows you what it means to live out your faith in a world that does not agree with it.  Even though ancient Rome may seem very different than today's world, there are a lot of similarities.  This was probably my favorite book in the series!

Echo in the Darkness is the second book in the series.  And I'm telling you if you get close to the end of the first book, go ahead and have this one on hand because you will want to start it immediately after you finish the first one!  This book continues the main story from the first book.  I can't tell you much more without including spoilers.  I really enjoyed this book as well and loved finding out what happened to all the characters on their long twisted journey.

As Sure as the Dawn is the third and final book in the series.  This book is somewhat different from the other two because it focuses on one of the other main characters from the first book Atretes, a German warrior who was captured by Rome and forced to become a Gladiator (which is not something you want to be forced to become).  Artetes goes through a lot in the first book and this book picks up kind of where you left him in the first book.  New characters are introduced and you will fall in love with and hate some of them just as much as the others from the first two books.

I give this series 5 out of 5 stars and I'm sad this it is over.  These characters were so real to me and I learned so much from them and experienced the full range of emotions with them.  Even if you aren't a Christian I think you would love these stories.  It gives you a taste of what life was like in Ancient Rome.  It reminded me of the TV series Spartacus on Starz a little, but with a little less sex and violence (but not much!).  I highly recommend you add these to your must read list!!

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