The Robe by Lloyd C. Douglas
Recommended for: 12 and up
Rating: PG (violence and Roman culture)
A Roman soldier, Marcellus, wins Christ's robe as a gambling prize. He then sets forth on a quest to find the truth about the Nazarene's robe-a quest that reaches to the very roots and heart of Christianity and is set against the vividly limned background of ancient Rome. Here is a timeless story of adventure, faith, and romance, a tale of spiritual longing and ultimate redemption.
Several years ago, I saw the movie for this book. I liked the movie and then I found out that it was based off of a book. We had the book and I wanted to read it for school. I expected it to be very different from the movie and it is. The book is so much better and it is now one of my favorite books.
When I first started reading this book, I expected it to start out with boring descriptions of the area and the weather. I was really surprised that it didn't. The whole book was very interesting and easy for me to follow. There weren't any long boring sections and there was a good balance of action and quieter parts.
The book is set in during the ancient Roman empire, stating in the year that Jesus was crucified. The story covers about two years. The main places that the characters go are Rome, Gaza (Minoa), Jerusalem, Athens, Galilee, Capri, and Arpino. I rated it four out of five because it is not entirely historically accurate. Much of the story seems pretty accurate but not all of it. There was an author's note at the beginning of the edition that I read that said that it is a work of fiction, not a commentary on the acts of the Apostles.
The main plot is what happens to Marcellus after he wins the robe of Jesus, but there were a couple other plots in the story. The book could be divided into three parts since there are about three different goals. It starts out building up to where Marcellus gets the robe, then Marcellus tries to find out more about Jesus. The rest of what happens follows from what he discovers.
I loved the characters and how they change gradually throughout the book. There are two main characters: tribune Marcellus Gallio, the son of a senator and his slave (and best friend) Demetrius. The book changes the point of view to whoever it needs to tell the story. Sometimes it is from the villains' point of view, but it starts out from Lucia, Marcellus' sister's point of view. One thing that seemed unrealistic was that one character went from thinking of a girl like a little sister to being in love with her in one day.
I loved this book and I wanted to keep reading it,which is pretty rare for me. I would recommend this book, especially if you like books such as Ben-Hur.