The Centurion by Ken Gire

War Fiction

Book reviews are subjective. I tend to rate books not according to how “perfect” they are, seem to be, or are said to be in general but rather to how perfect they are to me. I received a complimentary copy of this book from Moody Publishers for an honest review.

5 Stars

The CenturionGo to The Centurion on Goodreads by Ken Gire

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Gone was the innocence of his childhood. Gone were the ideals of his manhood. All that remained were scars of battle, ravages of war, and memories of a love torn from his embrace so many years ago he could hardly remember what she looked like.

It’s true that I intentionally chose the days near Easter to read The Centurion by author Ken Gire. But it’s important to know that, while the crucifixion of the “King of the Jews” is indeed an important early event with lasting influence through the novel, this isn’t a story centered on that or the life and ministry of Christ. Rather, it’s the story of the life and career of another man, a Roman centurion named Lucius; Mary Magdalene, a follower of Jesus; and equally about the history and conquests of Rome paralleled with the dangerous forging of the new Church.

And I found the telling of it all to be consummately amazing.

It’s clear that the author is no novice with his pen, revealing compelling imagery and a depth of human emotion. Lucius’s longing and growing cynicism come through as clearly as his passion for battle and for discipline and solidarity among the Roman Empire’s soldiers. I thought for a moment that Mary’s character might be depicted as too perfect, but she has her own longing and maybe even some disillusionment to deal with in her adversity.

I had a minor issue with a few appearances of double punctuation (?!), which I find to be more appropriate for casual text messages or social media statuses than for novels, and I thought italicization was way overused. When a book is well-written, as this one certainly is, I believe an author can trust the reader to catch the significance and power of the words most times without visually forcing it so frequently.

Nevertheless, it’s a weighty story, as epic and violent as it is contemplative. Heartrending, while still leaving room for its measure of triumph. I’d recommend this novel to readers of biblical fiction as well as any military and historical fiction fans—readers of Christian fiction and otherwise.

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