Madman Reviews

Publisher’s Weekly Starred Review

APRIL 2006

“Groot’s well-paced, beautifully written historical novel begins in the tombs of Kursi in Palestine on the Sea of Galilee. The story focuses on Tallis, an Athenian servant and scholar who has come to Hippos to learn about the fate of a Socratic academy his master has assembled and bankrolled. As he pieces together cryptic, horrifying details of the academy’s dissolution, Tallis finds himself drawn to the owners and staff of the inn where he is a guest. Groot reveals the secrets of the lost academy as well as those of the innkeepers gradually and with virtually no contrivance.

Important moments, such as the attempted rescue of a little boy, unfold with understated suspense, which is a delightful departure from the typically tedious, telegraphed and overplayed plot turns in the bulk of contemporary faith-based thrillers. Perhaps most gratifying about the novel is its subtle Christian message; all but the last few pages take place during Jesus’ ministry but before the characters have encountered him. Groot depicts these characters as good souls hungering for a greater good with which they might fight the almost overpowering evil forces sucking the life out of their community. Jesus’ miraculous entry into their lives provides a satisfying and believable conclusion to this entertaining and compelling book.”