My rating: 5 of 5 stars
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“I remember every step I took to find Jesus.” – Tabitha, Blood of a Stone
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Demetrios is a layered protagonist that the reader—though they might wish to wash their hands of him and his choices early on in the book—is compelled to get to know intimately. In doing so, they might find echoes of their own lives and their own choices.
We come to meet this man in rather horrid circumstances. He’s a twin whose twin has died, and he himself can’t move so well due to a physical deformity. He is sold into slavery, abused, and—though taken under the wing of a careful and good-hearted elder servant—he takes matters into his own hands and thus shades his life for years to come.
The servant is a man named Elazar, who is Jewish. His faith plays a huge role in his life as the story begins, even to the point of creating a divide between himself and Demetrios. Still, Elazar does as much as he can for his fellow servant and, when Demetrios makes very poor choices, still protects and guides him. They even go into business together.
The journey that Demetrios takes in Blood of a Stone is long and painful. His heart throbs over the beauty and vulnerability of a young woman he is offered as a wife, but his impetuous choices once again make things hard for him and he loses her. He has courage, though, and he learns and grows to not just be cared for, but to learn to care for others, even more than his own life. And he hears about Jesus of Nazareth on his journey, and his feelings toward this teacher, this healer, change over the course of the story until even Demetrios cannot help but acknowledge Jesus’ power.
This is also a love story. Demetrios never forgets Tabitha, the girl he could have wed if not for the impetuosity of their youth. Their paths cross and finally join, and Tabitha has by then come to be a Christ-follower, who helps Demetrios and walks at his side.
Jeanne Lyet Gassman is a fantastic writer. I’ve been privileged to know her for more than a decade, and have benefited from her brilliance as well as enjoyed her words immensely. This, her debut novel, is rich in historical detail, landscape descriptions, and emotional journeys. She’s a gifted writer and I was so pleased to have been given a complimentary review copy of this book.
I recommend this for anyone who enjoys Biblical Era historical fiction, human drama, and journeys of faith.