A.D. 33

A.D. 33
Author: Ted Dekker
Publisher: Center Street
Genre: Historical fiction / Christian
ISBN: 978-1-59995-417-2
Pages: 384
Price: $26.00

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Three years after A.D. 30, Queen Maviah has assembled the other outcasts of the desert, in an attempt to rescue her lover, Judah, and her father, the conquered king of Dumah. After Judah is restored to her, the outcasts are enraged by the capture of several of their children, including Maviah’s own adopted son, Talya. A failed battle forces Maviah to search for the prophet, Yeshua, as she hopes to learn what she should do next.

With Saba, her protector and confidante, she journeys to Bethany, where Maviah learns that Yeshua has just raised his friend, Lazarus, from the dead. As they visit with Mary, Martha, and Lazarus, they witness Yeshua’s triumphant ride into Jerusalem on a donkey and his death on the cross. Defeated and crushed, they return back to the desert a day later, with no more answers than when they left. But what happens when they arrive home is so much more than they could ever expect.

Meanwhile, as Talya is imprisoned, he dreams a fantastic dream of Eden, and witnesses a serpent striking a pure lamb. There is a woman there, also, who takes the fruit offered by the serpent. Talya is convinced that the woman looks like his mother, Maviah, and that he, himself, is the lamb.

I really wanted to like A.D. 33. I wanted to experience Passion Week with Jesus, and glory in his resurrection with the others gathered in Jerusalem. But this book focuses almost exclusively on Maviah and Saba and their desert problems, and very little on Jesus himself. Even his messages are just recited as Saba either teaches them to Talya or speaks of them to Maviah. They are not brought up in any particular context, but rather as if he was simply reciting them from memory.

The Garden of Eden sequences were especially confusing to me. The Church Fathers taught that Mary is the new Eve, and Jesus, the lamb who crushes the head of the serpent. Implying that Maviah and Talya could take on those roles just felt wrong. And honestly, I would have preferred a more realistic ending, rather than a supernatural one.

Reviewer: Alice Berger