Book Review – Empire’s End

Empire’s End: A Novel of the Apostle Paul

By Jerry B. Jenkins
313 pages, Worthy Publishing
ISBN 9781617950070

Goodreads rating: 3.92 out of 5

A recent report in Publisher’s Weekly noted that the market for Christian fiction books in the United States alone is about USD$75 to $80 million per annum. That’s a very small market, it is only a tiny fraction compared to the secular fiction book market.

In Malaysia, you can’t really buy them locally with the exception of one or two Christian bookstores. While some people may argue that Christian fiction books are not as good as bestsellers written by authors such as Dan Brown or J. K. Rowling, but there is definitely an argument for reading fiction with positive messages or based around Biblical characters or themes.

This is can be described as a Christian historical novel. The writer retells the story of Saul of Damascus (the Apostle Paul) in the form of a thriller novel. While the basics of his story are true to the events described in the New Testament, the writer adds fictionalized events and characters to make the story more exciting and engrossing. Certainly that period of Jewish life and Roman occupation is very intriguing, and this book mines that setting for a compelling read worthy of a bestselling novel. This novel certainly counts as a work of fiction as the author fills in the gaps in the story of Paul with chapters that are fictionalized, and definitely not from any other sources other than the writer’s imagination.

The author has previously also written the bestselling Left Behind series.

It is interesting to read retelling of the story of Paul written in the form of a thriller novel. I read a lot of popular secular novels, so it is a refreshing change to try a Christian book targeted towards young adult / youths. I like that it blends a well-known story grounded in the New Testament scripture into the storyline to make it more engrossing and made me think more about Paul’s life, his conversion, and his subsequent ministry.

This book is targeted towards teens and young adults, and is therefore easy to read. I would encourage parents of youths and older children to get them to read as a way to reintroduce the New Testament (specifically Acts and the epistles of Paul) to them.

This month, our book review was contributed and written by Hannah, a 15 year old library member. She loves to read and attends PJEFC’s Impact Youth.

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