As Sure As The Dawn By Francine Rivers - A Review
Luckily for me, I was able to get my hands on 'As Sure As The Dawn' the same time that I purchased 'An Echo In The Darkness'. It was a long, hard toil but I was able to do tons and tons of hits on Amazon Mechanical Turk and use the earned money to purchase both books. It took a long time but it was worth the wait. The Mark of the Lion series is truly one of my favorite fiction series to date.
Each book is, what one could call, thick and if you are not an avid reader, they can be intimidating at first. The font is not very big but it is a darker one, however it is possible that daunting could be a word that a non-reader would use when faced with the series. It comes in a lovely boxed set but if you are purchasing it for someone who is not a prolific reader, I would advise that you go one by one with the purchasing.
From my own reading of each book, I would say that anyone who is not intrigued and who does not care to hear the rest of the story truly has no imagination and perhaps reading is a lost cause for them. OK, maybe I exaggerate but the books are that good. As a matter of fact, As Sure As The Dawn seems to be everyone's favorite. The vast majority of people who spoke about this book claim that it is their favorite as they say it is more humorous than the others.
What's my opinion?
Read on to see.
About As Sure As The Dawn
As Sure As The Dawn picks up Atretes the gladiator's story. We last read of him in A Voice In The Wind. He disappears from view and we think that perhaps his story is not for us to know. But God has a plan for the strong German and Atretes' story is the one that, perhaps, surprises the most.
It is set in Ephesus, Germany and the lands in between. Atretes, the great and popular gladiator of Rome is now retired, having bought his own freedom. His life is not content, however. He wrestles with the words of the slave girl Hadassah and he thinks about his responsibility for his son, Caleb.
He is a hard, stubborn man. One who does what is right in his own eyes and who is accustomed to kneeling to graven images. He is totally different to Caleb's protector, Rizpah, a Christian widow with a dark past.
Rizpah does not understand the ways of God or why she would have to share Caleb with Atretes but she does not question God's infinite wisdom. She, along with Atretes, seeks to find a place to raise Caleb in peace.
Atretes, however, is a man in demand and many want him to go back to the gladiator ring. Since he was captured from Germania and bought his freedom, it is very easy to blackmail him and trap him into staying and fighting once again.
Atretes' character has been smeared with the blood he has shed. He now has a thirst for blood and he cannot wash this urge away from him. He scorns the God that Rizpah serves and trusts no one.
When danger comes near, they must flee to Germania the land of Atretes' birth. They journey with Theophilus a Roman centurion who tries to win Atretes' trust.
Where in Ephesus Rizpah was among her brethren, in Germania, Atretes is among his. Rizpah must face idolatry, adultery, witchcraft and murder. But wait, isn't this Atretes' story? Indeed it is, and he must face all of these as well.
During the book we see how God takes a blood thirsty warrior and turns him into a soul thirsty warrior. We see God take a man who wears pride as a badge and turn him into one who is not ashamed to don the rags of humility.
Perhaps this is why the book is the most favored of the three.
A Bit of History of the Germanic Tribes
Recommendation For As Sure As The Dawn
I would recommend this book to anyone who is interested in history or Christianity. Francine Rivers has done a great job of incorporating historical facts into her work of fiction and there was a lot I learned about the Germanic tribes that I had not learned before.
It is, of course, appropriate to read this book before giving it to a child as there are adult situations in it and some children may not fully grasp the reason they are mentioned but simply be scandalized by the mention of it.
On a whole, The Mark of The Lion Series is an enjoyable read.
Was As Sure As The Dawn my favorite?
I can't really decide. Somehow, Hadassah got a hold of me like no other character and so perhaps I would say that the first two meant more to me than the last. It might not be the same for you though. Each reader finds their own character they connect to. So why not try it out and see if you like it?