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The Keeper’s Crown
by Nathan Maki
From the back cover:
As a boy, he dared to fight Nero. Worse, he won.
Stripped of his family, the love of his life, and his self-respect, he sets out on a quest to win a victor’s crown, rescue his parents, and restore his family’s honor. But his path to glory in the restless province of Judaea is threatened by the corrupt governor Felix, the murderous priest Melechi, and most of all by the rabble-rousing Paul of Tarsus.
When Quintus finds himself in Rome chained to Paul all hope of a crown seems lost, but Paul’s example makes him question the true meaning of success. And why does Jael, the mysterious young Jewess who once saved his life, now respond with barely restrained flashes of hate?
The Romans took her father and her brother from her.
Now Jael vows to fight for her father’s faith, fulfill her brother’s oath, and avenge their deaths. But the further she travels with Paul and Quintus the more she feels torn. Can she follow her heart and still keep her vow?
He turned the world upside down.
Paul never expected to end his ministry in chains, but even still, he is determined to carry the gospel to Rome and the Emperor Nero himself. But what if those who need the gospel most are those closest to him?
As the Great Fire strikes Rome, fanning Nero’s persecution of the Christians to a white-hot fury, murderous secrets, impossible choices, and steadfast faith will lead to tragedy and triumph.
About the author:
Nathan Maki is a pastor and author who lives in Prescott, Ontario, Canada with his wife Rachel and son Alexander. He has turned his degrees in Journalism and History into a writing career, and is the best-selling author of the War Within series, also set in Ancient Rome. Nathan’s passion is bringing the ancient world to life in a way that will challenge modern-day believers to fight the good fight of faith.
Paul, Nero, and Roman soldiers don’t make up the hero/villain lists of most novels I read. In fact, I wasn’t sure I wanted to read The Keeper’s Crown at first, but I’m glad I did.
We know a good bit about Paul from the New Testament. Yet it’s easy sometimes to see Biblical characters as flat figures — names and dates in history. The Keeper’s Crown takes what we know and gives it flesh and blood. This is fiction, and the author understandably took certain liberties in order to help us imagine what might have been.
However, if you use this novel as a starting point, it just might help your Bible reading come alive as you visualize what was happening. What would Paul’s life have truly been like? And if you were the guard chained to him, would you have believed his incredible testimony?
If first-century Rome is not your usual cup of tea, I challenge you to stretch your reading a bit and give The Keeper’s Crown a try. (Note: As the main character is a Roman soldier, there is quite a bit of fighting. It is handled with care. While not gory, realistic violence is still included in the story.)