Tyndale House Publishers
The Last Temple, written by Hank Hanegraaff and Sigmund Brouwer, is the last book of a historical fiction trilogy which also contains The Last Sacrifice and The Last Disciple. Interesting snippets within this book give enough information to understand the flow of the series and to encourage the reading of the two previous volumes.
Gallus Sergius Vitas, a former Roman soldier, now a fugitive from Nero, narrowly escapes death by crucifixion. While relaxing at the villa of Bernice, the Queen of the Jews, in Alexandria, Vitas continues to mull over several things: a mysterious note that was sent with him when he was rescued from Rome, a token given to him by Joseph Ben-Matthias (a prominent man of Jerusalem), which Vitas has promised to redeem if requested, no questions asked, and the intrigue by which Bernice hopes to rescue her people if the worst should happen. Vitas does not think it strategically possible for Jerusalem and the Temple to fall. Yet, unless the prophecy is fulfilled, Vitas cannot logically believe in the Christos, in whom his beloved wife Sophia has put her trust.
The time comes, however, when Vitas is summoned to Jerusalem by his friend and former fellow-soldier, Titus Flavius Vespasianus. Although there on personal business, Vitas cannot help appraising the situation: two factions of Jews led by John of Gischala and Simon Ben-Gioras have been destroying each other inside the walls. Titus has found a way to breech the walls. Could the Temple fall after all? Then, the redemption of the token is demanded.
The story writing is excellent and the research is thorough. There is one apparent gap in logic that needs explaining: if crucifixion deaths most often occurred by dehydration, as the book says, how did water gush out of the body when death was proven by spear point? Wouldn’t any remaining fluid drain to the feet by gravity?
This book is a wonderful story. Readers who do not agree with the interpretation of prophecy espoused by the authors can still enjoy the story if they consider that interpretation as background for the story, separating it from the reader’s own belief. Men will enjoy this story more than women because the roles of women are subdued, although they appear at pivotal times. However, anyone who loves historical fiction will relish this book. – Lynn Brown, www.ChristianBookPreviews.com
In the final installment of the authors’ trilogy (The Last Sacrifice, The Last Disciple), Jerusalem continues to experience the prophesies that early Christians believe will lead to the end of days. Vitas, the novel’s warrior-hero, has returned home to Alexandria, where he and his wife are determined to lead a quiet life. But because of debts owed to the men who saved him, Vitas becomes involved in a plot to rid the Roman empire of Nero, a conspiracy that eventually leads him back to Jerusalem now besieged by Titus. Verdict: Though the dialog tends to be didactic, the plot moves along quickly. Many readers will be looking for apocalyptic fiction this year, and those who enjoy the works of Tim LaHaye may find similarities here.