4 of 5 stars for craft and 3 of 4 hearts for healing, more spiritual than emotional.
About the book:
Petra, the wondrous ancient city carved from the mountains of modern Jordan, is at the height of its glory in this gripping historical novel by T. L. Higley. A young widow, Cassia, and her son, Alexander, have arrived there seeking protection with her late husband's estranged family. But when Cassia discovers the man she married was heir to the throne, the power-hungry Queen Hagiru plots to murder Alexander so that her own child will someday rule. The queen, priestess of the sun-god, Dushrat, calls on demonic powers in her quest, but Cassia is prepared for the fierce spiritual battle to save her son, joining a Roman named Julian and his community of believers in the Jewish Messiah. Together they seek a mighty movement of God far stronger than any dark heart or city made of stone.
Petra was an engaging story, much like Guardian of the Flame (the other story I'd read by T. L. Higley.) I could tell the books were written by the same author because the "voice" was identical. Petra was packed with Scriptures and spiritual lessons the character had to work through when they dealt with trials and opposition. I loved that the Holy Spirit spoke to Julian and others in that still, small voice.
The scenarios that portrayed what it might have been like to be part of the early church was well done. I enjoyed how Julian often used Scriptures to encourage the people God had called him to lead. The culture was interesting and I enjoyed the setting. The way things turned around for Alexander and Cassia after they arrived in Petra was compelling enough to keep me turning the pages. There were multiple points of view in this story beyond the main characters. They added a bit of perspective that would have been missing otherwise.
The culmination of the story during the "festival of grain" made me think of the movie, The Ten Commandments. I could picture Julian standing like Charlton Heston with his robes whipping in the breeze as he lifted his arms to part the Red Sea. That was quite dramatic. It was almost too action packed to the point that it was confusing. But it could also be the fact that I read the second half of the story while suffering from a horrible virus, so my brain was already muddy inside. At any rate, this was an entertaining read. For people who enjoy reading about ancient history and the early church, this novel is sure to please.
Petra was published by B&H and released in Sept. 2010.