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Book Review: Risen

Most of us know the story of the week leading up to Jesus’s Crucifixion. We know about the hours on the cross, the three days in the tomb, and the Resurrection on Sunday. This all pretty much comes from the point of view of his followers, of course.

But what about all the other people in Jerusalem at the time? How did they see all of this?


In this novelization of the new major motion picture, we follow Roman Tribune Clavius from Good Friday on. Pontius Pilate and Caiaphas worry that Yeshua’s* followers will sneak into the cemetery in the middle of the night and steal the body, then spread the story that Yeshua has indeed risen from the dead. No body = no proof that he didn’t! Pilate is under increasing pressure to keep the peace in Jerusalem, which grows harder to do during the Passover feast and with magicians, messiahs, and rebels around every corner. Clavius, in fact, has just come from quelling a rebel uprising when he meets with Pilate at the beginning of the story.

The book follows Clavius as he is sent on the mission first to prevent the body of Yeshua from being stolen, and then to recover the body (soon, because after a few days decomposition begins to make them indistinguishable from similar corpses) and apprehend those responsible. The mystery novel feel is a fun, interesting way to venture through this.

We don’t only follow Clavius, however. There is a young Jewish widow, Rachel, who bakes bread for her living. She witnessed Yeshua’s mile long walk to Golgotha, watched his Crucifixion, and has begun asking questions about him – very carefully, of course – to try and satisfy her curiosity. Just discussing him with another person might bring the wrong type of attention upon her, which is something she certainly doesn’t need… especially as she has developed a relationship with none other than Clavius.

I really enjoyed this book. I always appreciate when I can read “the other side” of events, and author Angela Hunt brings this to life very nicely. A bonus bit of appreciation here: the use of Jesus’s Hebrew name, Yeshua, was a total plus for me, It enabled me to not stop and think “Oh, this is a Bible story” nearly every time I read his name, simply because of that little change. (It also lent more of a historical flavor to the story as well.)

If you are in want of a good Easter-season book, try this one out. I doubt you’ll be disappointed.


This book was sent to me by the publisher, Bethany House, in exchange for an honest review – which is what you see here! 🙂




Syd is a Midwestern girl who doesn’t think the term “girl” is sexist in the least – especially after she left her 20s. She holds a huge love for history (from WWI through the end of WWII, Victorian, Regency, and Elizabethan eras), some science fiction, and likes to pass the time reading, working with photography and needlework, and writing things. Lots of things. Syd likes to dance, too, but she looks like an utter goob doing so!

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