Stones of My Accusers Reviews
Booklist Starred Review
“Set sometime in the aftermath of the Crucifixion, Groot’s Stones of My Accusers weaves several plot strands together but in essence shows biblical and nonbiblical Jews dealing with two local issues. First, Pilate has decreed that a certain laborer must work on the Sabbath or be flogged; second, a tree standing in the way of a new granary must be cut over the objections of a prostitute named Rikvah, to whom the tree is holy because it represents the life of her son. Orion, Pilate’s kindhearted liaison to the Jews, puts his job and maybe his life on the line for the Jews in an embodiment of the mercy of which Jesus preached. And others of Groot’s well-drawn characters, excepting Pilate, embody mercy in this subtle tale that cleverly avoids retelling New Testament stories, instead forming a sort of commentary by telling parallel stories. A loose sequel to The Brother’s Keeper, Stones of My Accusers can be read without reference to it, but readers will find it equally allusive and thoughtful”
John Mort Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
Christian Fiction Review
“This book is not about what both the title and cover would seem to indicate. In other words, it’s not about the woman caught in adultery and brought to Jesus. But that event does play a prominent role in the character development of this story, which is actually a sequel to Groot’s earlier book, The Brother’s Keeper. (Don’t read any further if you haven’t read that book and plan on doing so.)
Two characters from The Brother’s Keeper had unfinished story arcs. Jorah, the younger sister of Jesus, was filled with hate over the murder of her boyfriend, Nathanael, and full of confusion about her eldest brother. Joab, a somewhat-unwilling accomplice to that murder, has a final message for Nathanael’s mother, a prostitute. This story is theirs, along with Rivkah, the mother in question, and Orion, a Roman official whose heart is not hard enough for the tasks given to him by the governor, Pilate. These four characters’ lives collide in a series of events that lead up to a fateful climax.
“No stones.” Those two words are at the heart of the story, Nathanael’s words of mercy to a mother who mistreated him and sold her body for money. Two words that bring to mind the story of the adulteress Jesus forgave, and that impact every character in the book in one way or another. It’s all about forgiveness – forgiveness on a scale that seems improbable, such as Jesus forgiving those who crucified Him.
Once again, Tracy Groot has managed to include a number of minor characters who all get their chance to shine, their chance for character development and story arcs. I’m truly impressed by how well she weaves those others in without detracting from the main characters.
The story doesn’t quite rise to the level of its predecessor, however. While the different character arcs are compelling, the connection between them is not as powerful as that of the family of Christ in The Brother’s Keeper (nor is the connection to Biblical events as strong, obviously). That’s not to say it’s bad. Far from it. It’s just not as good.
For those who loved the first book (like me), this is an excellent follow-up, wrapping up some loose threads that couldn’t be contained within the first volume. Some of it might be hard to follow for readers who try to start with this one, of course. While Groot tries to explain everything, the emotional connection to the characters that was forged in the first book will not be there, and some of the details won’t make any sense.
Recommended.” —Tim Frankovich, christianfictionreview.com