Book Review: Behold the Man, Bodie & Brock Theone, Zondervan, 2015
Bodie & Brock Theone have written over seventy novels and while I haven’t read all of them, I’ve never read any of their work that wasn’t wonderful. Behold the Man maintains that tradition.
Set in Israel during the time of Christ, it is the experience of a Roman family as they contend with the politics of the Roman Empire and encounter the Savior. Claudia is the wife of Pilate, the Roman governor who ultimately sentences Jesus to be crucified. Marcus was Claudia’s lover before she was forced to marry Pilate by Tiberius Cesear, her father. This love triangle provides a plane of drama throughout the novel and would make for a decent romantic novel in any historic setting. However, the novel spans the time from John the Baptist’s emergence until the crucifixion; that time period adds an additional layer of drama.
Because the key characters are Roman, the names and the inclusion of a few Roman phrases made for a slow read for me in the first part of the book. I confess had I not known these authors and truly believed they would ultimately deliver a great story, I might have laid it aside at that point. If you find yourself considering that choice, I urge you to keep reading; you will really miss a great story if you leave it in those first few chapters.
The biblical account of both John and Jesus’ ministries is interwoven into the story. Characters see and hear both men preaching and rather than quoting biblical text, the Theone’s have written the teaching into the body of their novel. While this is a fictional work, and the characters are from their imaginations, the doctrine of the story is quite sound.
I have long believed that the bible stories are greater themes and plots than any author can create and I really enjoy a dramatized presentation of them. It is an incredible method to see the events we know so well unfolding almost in the background as these people move through their lives.
I can rate this book no less than four stars. The only reason I would not give it five is that slow beginning and my concern that some readers might not perservere. I would certainly urge you to read it.
Zondervan, publisher of Behold the Man supplied a copy of this novel in exchange for a fair and impartial review.