Thursday, December 17, 2015

Beast of Ephesus -- Book Review

by Elisabeth Greaves

If you’ve ever wondered about the underside of life in the century after Christ died, Elisabeth Greaves will give you a glimpse into what it might have been like. She writes, in a very straightforward almost simplistic manner, the story of two slaves from the same household in Ephesus who by some unfortunate circumstances fall into the hands of the local ‘lanista’, the owner/guardian of the gladiators. At times the events of the story seem a bit contrived but it is a work of fiction. . .
Greaves manages without being gruesome or overly graphic to bring the sights, sounds and even the smells of the Roman Circus (think Gladiators) to the reader and to demonstrate how lives can be changed through faith in Christ amidst the dirt, greed and depravity of a people steeped in pantheism. She weaves her story between Ephesus and Rome around the festival of Artemis and the Volturnalia Festival in the period of Claudius Caesar just before Nero comes to power. We live with her characters in the cells below the arena, participate in the petty drama among the contestants and get a glimpse of comradeship even amongst men who are treated like animals and must fight to the death for the entertainment of the rich.
No matter what our circumstances are, Greaves shows us that there is hope in Christ and we need not fear “the end”.

-- Guest Reviewer: Chrysogon Godevenos 

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