Book Review: A.D. 33 by Ted Dekker

Title: A.D. 33
Author: Ted Dekker
Publisher: Center Street (Hachette Book Group)
Published: October 2015
Series: A.D., Book 2
Genre: Biblical fiction

Book Description (from Publisher Center Street):

New York Times bestselling author Ted Dekker delivers the gripping story of Maviah, a slave who becomes a queen in Arabia, A.D. 33.

They call her the Queen of the Outcasts. Maviah, a woman whose fate was sealed on her birth by this world-unwanted, illegitimate, female, a slave-subject to the whims of all. But then she met a man named Yeshua who opened her eyes. She found strength in his words, peace from the brutal word around her. Because of what he taught her, she has gathered her own traveling kingdom of outcasts deep in the desert, wielding an authority few have seen. But when her growing power threatens the rulers around her, they set out to crush all she loves, leaving her reeling as a slave once more. She must find Yeshua to save her people, but when she does, she will be horrified to discover that he faces his own death.

Enter a story full of intrigue, heart-wrenching defeat, uncompromising love and staggering victory-one that re-examines everything you thought you knew about the heart of Jesus’s stunning message and the power that follows for those who follow his easily forgotten way.

My Thoughts:

Like its predecessor A.D. 30, Ted Dekker’s A.D. 33 tells a fascinating tale of epic adventure, romance and political intrigue. It draws the reader in to the life and times of Jesus, primarily from the viewpoint of a Bedouin woman who follows His teachings and interacts with Him on multiple occasions. But more than that, this story makes the reader think long and hard about what Jesus meant by some of his teachings, and about what it means to follow Him.

Maviah continues to be an interesting and relatable lead character, with difficult political and personal situations standing in the way of her goals. The author does a great job interweaving Maviah’s story with that of Jesus. We get to see a fair number of recognizable moments and teachings from His ministry through her eyes, without these interactions ever becoming too much or too coincidental for plausibility.

Along with Maviah, this book revisits familiar characters from the last book including Judah and Saba. It also introduces a number of new characters to the story including a precocious young orphan named Talya that Maviah has adopted in the years since the last installment.

The plot is gripping, with unexpected twists and some intensely emotional moments. I had tears streaming down my cheeks during the climactic scene. So beautiful and powerfully told!

I appreciated the fact that Dekker took the time to cite Biblical references for the teachings of Jesus in this book. I can’t say I’m in complete agreement with how some of the other characters in the story interpret some of Jesus’ teachings, or with all of the conclusions drawn from them. But I enjoyed looking at those teachings from a different angle. It prompted me to think long and hard about why I believe what I do believe. It also has me itching to re-read the New Testament to re-examine Jesus’ teachings for myself in their original context.

Overall, this is a beautifully written book that does a great job blending a gripping story with an inspiring message. Highly recommended.

Thank you to publisher Center Street for providing me with an electronic advance reader copy of this novel via NetGalley for review purposes. This review represents my own honest opinion.

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