Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Book Review: Sixth Covenant by Bodie and Brock Thoene (AD Chronicles #6)

Stars: 4 out of 5
Pros: Brings a familiar story to life
Cons: Predictable
The Bottom Line:
Familiar story
Characters bring it to life
Read for fun insights

The Wise Men Cometh

Sixth Covenant is book six in bestselling authors Brock and Bodie Thoene's A.D. Chronicles series. Through this series, they have been attempting to bring their readers closer to Jesus by portraying His life, times, and culture. The series started off during his earthly ministry, but this book continues a three book arc about His birth. In fact, it picks up immediately after the last entry. The shepherds have just worshipped the Baby Messiah….

The Messiah has come! After the angels visit, the shepherds waste no time in spreading the word. Soon, the entire village of Bethlehem is buzzing about His long awaited arrival. Midwife Rachel and her husband Zadok, a shepherd, are honored to have been such a big part of His arrival and lead the village in making Mary, Josef, and baby Yeshua feel right at home.

Meanwhile, a growing caravan of travelers is coming to pay homage to Yeshua. Crossing the wilderness, they face many dangers from the land and marauders as they approach their destination. And they continue to watch the sky as the signs continue to unfold.

Unfortunately for all, King Herod is still as paranoid as ever. He wants any sign of rebellion crushed immediately, and the news of the arrival of Messiah will mean bad news to all concerned. Can the arrival of Yeshua be kept a secret from the mad king? If he does find out, what will the consequences be?

After reading the last book in the series, I guessed at the general outline of this one, and I was right. Anyone familiar with the Biblical story of the birth of Jesus will find no surprises in the story. But that's been the case with the entire series to date. Most of the fun has been guessing which story we are being retold and seeing the familiar Bible stories told in a new way.

This book did a decent job of holding my interest. The hardest part for me was knowing the outcome. I knew it would be powerful and heartbreaking, and I was right. Yet they still managed to build suspense that had me reading as fast as I possibly could. This just made it that much more gripping and moving for me.

The characters continue to be rich, which really helps draw me into the story. These are real people caught up in events that still impact our world 2000 years later. Yet they seem like friends. As a result, it is easy to spend time with them.

At times, I have complained that the Thoenes inject too much culture into their stories. In previous books, they've essentially stopped the story to explain Jewish customs and law to us. I find that interesting in small doses, and here indeed it was kept to a minimum, allowing the events to unfold quickly.

Interestingly, there was no mention of any of the characters from the first few books of the series. They didn't even get to appear in a prologue, which was missing entirely from the book. I'm looking forward to getting back to them, hopefully, in the next book.

There are really no surprises for anyone familiar with the Christmas story here. But Sixth Covenant is an enjoyable read that provides some unique insight into one of the biggest events in history.

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