Janette Oke has dreamed for years of retelling a story in a biblical time frame from a female protagonist's perspective, and Davis Bunn is elated to be working with her again on this sweeping saga of the dramatic events surrounding the birth of Christianity...and the very personal story of Leah, a young Jewess of mixed heritage trapped in a vortex of competing political agendas and private trauma.
Caught up in the maelstrom following the death of an obscure rabbi in the Roman backwater of first-century Palestine, Leah finds herself also engulfed in her own turmoil--facing the prospect of an arranged marriage to a Roman soldier, Alban, who seems to care for nothing but his own ambitions. Head of the garrison near Galilee, he has been assigned by Palestine's governor to ferret out the truth behind rumors of a political execution gone awry. Leah's mistress, the governor's wife, secretly commissions Leah also to discover what really has become of this man whose death--and missing body--is causing such furor.
This epic drama is threaded with the tale of an unlikely romance and framed with dangers and betrayals from unexpected sources. At its core, The Centurion's Wife unfolds the testing of loyalties--between two young people whose inner searchings they cannot express, between their irreconcilable heritages, and ultimately between their humanity and the Divine they yearn to encounter.
Grandmother of the evangelical Christian fiction boom, Oke teams with Bunn, another established author brand, in this biblical fiction embroidered around a minor character in the gospels, one Roman soldier whose young servant was miraculously healed by Jesus. The centurion Alban seeks advancement in the Roman government of occupied Judaea. His plan to advance will win him an unwilling bride, Leah, a young woman whose family's economic disgrace has forced her into servitude in the household of Roman governor Pilate, who has recently condemned to death a controversial Jewish spiritual leader by the name of Jesus. This nicely plotted series kickoff provides interesting back stories for the central characters that cry out for further development. A few supporting characters hold interest, including Alban's fellow soldier Linux and Pilate's wife Procula, another intriguing bit player in the gospel of Christ's passion. Unfortunately, the characters who follow Jesus have but a single dimension: piety. Fans of these popular authors will love their joint effort imagining and animating the context of Christianity's birth.