BEN HUR: THE ODYSSEY: a truly worthy sequel to a timeless classic

Posted: February 10, 2013 in Uncategorized

If there’s one religious fiction novel that can without a shadow of a doubt be classified as my all-time favorite, it’s General Lew Wallace’s classic Ben-Hur. Why? Well, because it’s got everything a good story should have: passion, adventure, revenge, rich descriptions of people and times long gone by, and most of all, an inspiring message. But for all its awesome epic story, the ending seems a little sketched. It left me wanting more.

Fortunately, Mr. Barry Clifton had the courage and inspiration to write a sequel, titled BEN-HUR: THE ODYSSEY, of which I had the great honor of receiving a signed copy.

The novel’s engaging plot has Judah Ben-Hur become an advocate for the Apostle Paul as he pledges his case in front of young emperor Nero. It’s a sweeping epic of a world in desperate need of God, a masterful panorama of ancient times, and a gripping tale fueled by strong emotions. Ben-Hur eventually becomes Nero’s charioteer, and is forced to witness the atrocities that the crazed tyrant unleashes upon those that dare oppose him. I believe that the strongest point of the book, its very essence, is the contrast between Ben-Hur and Nero. They are both powerful, but one of them knows both good and evil, and the other does not. I truly enjoyed the scene where Ben-Hur lunged at the emperor to defend an innocent girl he was going to abuse, and yet, did not kill him. It truly shows the nature of a good heart. Ben-Hur’s efforts to lead the church in Rome are a powerful testimony of what one should do in times of hardship: look up and trust God to give us power to do things right. The feel of the era is brilliantly captured, the language is flowing, the prose is simple and meaningful, and if the book were to be adapted into a movie, I think it’s safe to say it would be as epic as the 1959 Charlton Heston version.

So, for all those of you who enjoy historical fiction centered around the Early Church(I loved how the author insisted in the book that back then, the Church was about PEOPLE, not BUILDINGS), for all those who have known and loved the original for generations, and for all those who need assurance that they’re not alone in their struggles, BEN-HUR:The Odyssey is the perfect book! 10 out of 5 for a masterpiece of Christian historical fiction! Thank you, Mr. Barry! May you be blessed and inspired now and always!

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