I’m taking a break from reading the 2014 Edgar Award nominees to bring you a great Biblical fiction book just perfect for some fun Lenten reading! That’s right, I said, “fun Lenten reading.” Don’t think it’s possible? Check out Stephanie Landsem’s The Thief.
Author: Stephanie Landsem
Genre: Biblical fiction
Synopsis: With a father addicted to gambling and a mother addicted to wine, Nissa survives the only way she knows how, with the help of a talented thief named Mouse. Without Mouse’s help, Nissa and her blind brother Cedron would starve. However, getting help from Mouse gets complicated when Mouse is nearly caught by Longinus, a Roman centurion who wants nothing more than to catch the little thief who escaped him. Meanwhile, rumors spread around Jerusalem about a new teacher who can heal. When this new prophet brings sight back to Cedron, Nissa hopes to find a new way to survive, but the miracle of Cedron’s sight only brings further problems as tension mounts in Jerusalem over this new prophet.
As you can probably guess, the prophet/healer is Jesus, and Landsem expertly works in various Bible stories leading up to and including the passion and death of Christ. What I liked about The Thief even more than The Well (the first book in the Living Waters series) is how many different Biblical stories Landsem is able to weave into one narrative. It’s fun to see familiar Gospel stories fleshed out and pieced together in surprising ways. Like she did in The Well, Landsem has a way of introducing you to a character and only later do you realize you “know” that character from a Bible story. For example, when you first meet Cedron, you might not realize he’s the one who will have his eyes covered in mud and then told by Jesus to go wash in the Pool of Siloam. You’ll have to read the rest of The Thief to find out what other Biblical figures appear!
For me, one of the most surprising parts of the story was how much it helped me picture the political tensions of the time. In school, they taught us about how the Pharisees believed Jesus was just another trickster and how the Zealots wanted a real revolution, but seeing that tension depicted in a story made it so much clearer to me.
So if you’re looking for a new way to get into the passion narrative this Lent, pick up Stephanie Landsem’s The Well. It goes on sale tomorrow!
Visit Stephanie Landsem online here.