Here's a description of the book:
"A Roman centurion longing for peace and a Jewish woman hiding a deadly secret witness a miracle that transforms their lives and leads them to the foot of the cross.
Longinus is a Roman centurion haunted by death and failure. Desperate to escape the accursed Judean province, he accepts a wager. If he can catch the thieves harassing the marketplace before Passover, he’ll earn a transfer away from the troublemaking Jews.
Nissa is a Jewish woman with a sharp tongue and no hope of marriage. Only with the help of Mouse, the best thief in Jerusalem, can she keep her blind brother, Cedron, fed and a roof over their heads.
When a controversial teacher miraculously heals Cedron, Longinus longs to learn more about the mysterious healer. Instead, his journey leads him to Nissa, whose secret will determine the course of both their futures.
Unexpectedly caught up in the arrest, trial, and crucifixion of Jesus, they wonder who this teacher is who heals others but does nothing to save himself. Is the mercy he offers in his teachings real, or just another false promise? Can Nissa and Longinus overcome their pasts to find a future free of their shackles?
The Thief is an evocative story of two people trapped in their circumstances and the life-changing power of forgiveness and love."
Landsem won me over in the first couple of chapters with the depth of characterization, the wonderful setting, and the early surprises. The Thief includes a powerful blend of action/suspense, emotion, historical details, biblical references, and romance. I loved that it was not only a well-written read, but an engaging one throughout.
I had the opportunity to go to Israel when I was fifteen, and I enjoyed picturing some of the sights again through this story. Interestingly enough, the author notes that she's never been there (yet!) - but let me tell you, her descriptions and imagery are great! While I can see how Morocco inspired her (not that I've been there, but her note about the marketplaces seems fitting), Landsem obviously did her research regarding the layout of Jerusalem and the cultural elements of Jesus's day. I loved her take on the setting and found myself easily swept away to the first century.
I'm sure that was also due to the characters. Such "tangled webs" Nissa weaves...and such trouble they all find themselves in. The characters came across as very authentic - and even if that meant I got frustrated with Longinus (and others) often, it also meant I loved him all the more when he showed different sides to himself and grew. The secondary characters - especially Dismas and Cedron - also impressed me, but I do admit, being the romantic that I am, that Longinus and Nissa's relationship held my attention. Their uniqueness (in both looks and attitudes), stubbornness, and tenderness endeared me to them.
My one wish might be that the reader could see a little more of Jesus - a little more of his interactions with the other characters, a little more involvement early on, or something. While his role was undeniably the most pivotal, he felt a little distant. I think that's because the main characters mainly observed him, rather than had much chance to interact with him in a personal way. Still, Landsem portrayed him in a thought-provoking way by immersing the reader in his time and in the expectations many had of him.
Overall, The Thief is a really fascinating read, full of contrasts and realism and grace. Beautifully done!
*With thanks to the publisher for providing me with a copy of the book
in exchange for my honest opinion, to be shared during the Litfuse
Publicity blog tour.*
About the Author
Stephanie Landsem loves adventure in far-off times and places. In real life, she’s explored ancient ruins, medieval castles, and majestic cathedrals around the world. Stephanie is equally happy at home in Minnesota with her husband, four children, and three fat cats. When she’s not writing, she’s feeding the ravenous horde, avoiding housework, and dreaming about her next adventure—whether it be in person or on the page.
Find out more about Stephanie at www.stephanielandsem.com.
To Buy the Book: click HERE
Blog Tour: Check out the review from other blog tour participants HERE.
Don't miss Stephanie Landsem's outstanding sophomore effort, The Thief.
Best-selling author Tosca Lee had this to say of the book: Filled with memorable characters, The Thief is a tale of hopelessness turned to hope, of high stakes made higher, and ultimate love. What happens when a character at the lowest rung of society crosses paths with the most well-known figure in history? The story of The Thief. I couldn't stop reading.
Stephanie is hosting a Kindle Fire HDX and book giveaway at her website.
CLICK THE BUTTON to find out more and enter to win.
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