Monday, December 10, 2012
Book Review: A Voice in the Wind-20th Anniversary Edition by Francine Rivers
Not many books get a special 20th Anniversary Edition published, but A Voice in the Wind completely deserves that honor. As the first book in the Mark of the Lion series, it encompasses the lives of four main characters. Hadassah, a Jewish Christian, is the only person in her family left alive after Titus' attack on Judea in AD 70. She is captured and taken to Rome where she is sold as a slave to the Valerian family. She prays daily that she can be a light to them and help them find the freedom their souls are searching for. Atretes is a barbarian from Germania who is captured by the Romans and taken back to Rome. He is made a gladiator and his hatred for all things Roman is evidenced in his kills, both in the arena and out. His goal becomes only to win his freedom. Marcus Valerian is a young man caught up in the lifestyle of Rome. He lives only for himself and his own pleasure. Hadassah catches his eye and he falls in love with her, but he cannot bring himself to accept her God. Julia Valerian is a girl on the brink of destruction. She wants the best that life can offer, and she's determined to get it, no matter the cost. She will stop at nothing to get what she wants.
A Voice in the Wind is a beautiful story of faith and courage. Hadassah is an inspiration to anyone who wishes they had the courage to share their faith with others. She knows that if others find out she is a Christian, she will be thrown to the lions. She longs to share Jesus with the Valerian family, but feels that she falls short on so many occasions. Her true test comes though, and she finds that God's presence is real, even her most trying time.
Hadassah serves the Valerian family with complete love and devotion. She sees the emptiness of their souls and the searching in their eyes. It seems that no matter how many possessions they own, they still feel unsatisfied. Marcus tries to fill the emptiness with women and money, but he is continually drawn back to the little Jewish slave girl. His sister, Julia, tries to find peace in friends, parties, jewelry, and eventually drugs and wine. Hadassah sees her young mistress headed down a path of self-destruction, but is powerless to stop her. Atretes is a hero in the arena, but he lives in a cell. He is guarded always, both to prevent his escape and to fend off both men and women who mob him when he goes out in public. His only dream is for freedom, and the only way to freedom is to kill as many other gladiators as possible. When he becomes involved with Julia, Hadassah takes a chance to tell him about her God, hoping to save his soul if he dies in the arena.
This book is incredibly powerful. I found so many similarities between the lives of the people in Rome and life in America today. The attitude of "if it feels good, do it," was prevalent then, too. I feel ashamed of myself for not sharing my faith with others just out of fear of embarrassment, when others shared theirs and lost their lives.
If it takes a few chapters before you get caught up in this book, don't give up! It is a little difficult to read because the names and some of the terms are unfamiliar. It is totally worth it to work past this though. Trust me, you won't regret it in the end. A word of warning: Don't come to the end of this book without having the sequel close by. You will definitely want to start it right away!