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 is sword than his voice and Judah, a Jew who comes from a tribe that can read the stars. Their journey will be fraught with terrible danger. If they can survive the vast forbidding sands of a desert that is deadly to most, they will reach a brutal world subjugated by kings and emperors. There Maviah must secure an unlikely alliance with King Herod of the Jews.
But Maviah’s path leads her unexpectedly to 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.
What must it have felt like to follow Jesus during His years of ministering here on earth?
I like to read Dekker’s stories because of their extreme, provocative ideas. He’s not afraid to deal in black-and-white truth and cuts through emotional issues like butter. He asks tough questions and struggles for answers, and he’ll go to any lengths to show the greatness of God’s love for His people.
Dekker brings that same style to A.D. 30. I was afraid that it would be a watered-down version of his usual writing; that it would feel soft or mushy, but Dekker continues to push the envelope – and yet he does so in a way that might be more acceptable to mainstream Christians. The only serial killers in the story are those history has put there, and who can argue with fact? Still, Dekker uses an unlikely band of characters to explore the times, and he makes you rethink everything you thought you knew about Bible times from their introduction.
Arabians? The history of Herod? Desert wars and power plays? It’s all in this story, and it’s made me go back to my Bible repeatedly to look up things – and to the Internet, as well, to research Biblical history. The facts I thought I knew are there – the people, the Bible stories, the Roman oppression – but Dekker takes it much, much further. There are Arabian wars, gladiator-style encounters, and prophecy coming into play. There are skeptical Jews, angry fathers, and marital struggles. It was a smooth, exciting read that I couldn’t put down.
Yet despite all of this, despite it’s very title, Jesus can be found on only a few pages. His power and influence can be found tying the entire story together, but He himself is usually off preaching elsewhere. Instead, you read about the ruminations His teaching leaves behind. You see His miracles, you meet His followers, and you feel for youself the quandary that following Him creates. Two thousand years later, has this changed? I don’t think so. I think that Maviah’s struggle is the same one that we each face today, and that’s the cherry on top of this sundae. A.D. 30 is more than an exciting story, a clean read, or a new piece of Biblical fiction. It’s a provocative work that makes us dig into the facts of the book to tear apart that from Dekker’s supposition. It makes us relate in big ways to Maviah and makes us lean into our own faith. It makes us ponder what things we are putting our faith in instead of letting it all go for Jesus.
I have a feeling that this is a book I’ll be pondering for a long time. It’s the kind that sticks with you, which means that I’m all the more eager for it’s sequel, A.D. 33. I just hope that Dekker doesn’t make us wait too long.
I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
About the Author
Ted Dekker is a New York Times best-selling author of more than thirty novels with over 10 million copies sold worldwide. He is known for thrillers that combine unforgettable characters, adrenaline-laced plots and incredible confrontations between good and evil. Dekker was named Best Inspirational Suspense Author in 2012 RT Book Reviews Reviewers’ Choice. His book, The Bride Collector, was named one of NPR’s “Top 100 Killer Thrillers” of all time. Two of his novels, Thr3e and House have been made into movies with more in production. Dekker and his wife, Lee Ann, live in Austin, Texas.3