A fictional account of the end of Christ's life and the beginning of the Christian church, told through the eyes of Marcellus Gallio, a Roman tribune who was (in this book) the head of the detail tasked with crucifying Christ. Gallio wins Christ's robe while gambling at the foot of the cross; at a drunken feast later in the evening, he is convinced to put on the robe, and his life is changed from that point. This and later events cause him (along with his slave, Demetrius) to start learning about the life of Christ, the miracles he performed, and his influence on the people of Galilee and the surrounding area.
It's obvious that the author heavily researched the various settings of the story - Judea and Jerusalem, Greece, and the Roman Empire (and specifically the city of Rome) during the end of Tiberius' reign. As a historical novel of the era, The Robe is very entertaining; the added subject matter of the beginning of the Christian church is also entertaining, and emotionally stirring, without coming off as "preachy".
Some knowledge of the early church and the key players is helpful, but not necessary. Knowing that "the Big Fisherman"/Simon Peter is the Peter of the Bible, for instance, may add some to the enjoyment of the book, but not knowing who that is does not necessarily detract from the reading.
I was a bit hesitant to read this, because I was afraid this would be a "book with a message", a book that uses the story to try to push a political or religious agenda; while the story and the ending do encourage the reader to do good, there is no feeling of proselytizing.
Positively amazing. Every conversation between the characters of the book are worth framing on a wall. Not a cheesy love story, but a philosophical journey -- a story retold. The Robe accentuates the true enchantment of a blossoming religion. Today, that is rarely felt with all the science and knowledge we carry around in our heads.
The source for the overblown biblical movie, yet the book is far more thoughtful and nuanced. Marcellus, the Roman tribune tasked with executing Jesus, resembles a modern day intellectual cynic. As he traverses Palestine, trying to find a "rational" explanation for what has occurred, his encounters with the followers of Jesus lead to his spiritual awakening.
A must-read. Captivating, inspiring, fast-paced and creative, this novel takes full advantage of the dramatic and psychological power of the subject matter. The character of Demetrius is particularly fascinating. The story may not be 100% accurate on biblical/historical details, but the powerful exploration of character and setting makes The Robe a classic.
Best book I've ever read. I've heard that Shogun is on par with this wonderful tale.
lia_clark thinks this title is suitable for 13 years and over
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