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One of My Favorite Christian Novels: The Mark of the Lion by Francine Rivers

Updated on May 24, 2010

A terrific love story by Francine Rivers

Candy is fattening and jewelry is expensive. So since February is the month traditionally associated with Love, perhaps this is the time to read a GREAT love story. My favorite is THE MARK OF THE LION trilogy by Francine Rivers. This exciting and breathtaking story will plunge you into a world that is both alien and similar to your world today. Each page brings to life the world of the early Christian, their loves, heartaches and faith.

In her early career the author Francine Rivers was a successful historical romance novelist. But after coming to the Lord she turned her gift of creating stories to writing inspiring and spectacular Christian fiction. Her very first series was THE MARK OF THE LION.

The first book of this beloved series A VOICE IN THE WIND starts during the fall of Jerusalem in 70 A.D. This stunning and heart wrenching beginning to the story takes you inside the walls of Jerusalem as the once great city is ransacked and pillaged. I have known historically of this event, but the drama and horror is so strikingly told that it truly reminds the reader that even a great civilization can meet its doom. The story vividly describes the plight of a Jewish family who are early followers of Christ. As the family meets with disaster from violence and starvation, the 14 year old daughter Hadassah is taken as a slave to Rome where she serves as a handmaiden to a wealthy aristocratic family. While she serves in this Roman household she has to hide her early Christian beliefs to stay alive. Her primary job is to serve the petulant and pampered daughter who is close to her age. Hadassah is both a playmate and a servant and suffers from her mistress’ arrogance and jealousy. Over time the handsome Roman playboy son of the family starts to fall in love with her which only makes his sister angrier. With many plot twists and turns the story takes the reader into the decadence of Roman society and even ultimately into the Coliseum where Christians are fed to the lions. The characters are rich, textured and relatable. If you worry that this is yet another dreary historical tome, fear not. The story is a nail biting, thrilling page turner packed with romance and intrigue. I was amazed at the many parallels that Rivers draws between Roman society and the present day. The excesses of wealth. The glorification of violence at the Coliseum. The amazing sophistication of the Roman world. Francine’s characters feel like people you know at work or next door. You may even find yourself reflected in these pages.

If you buy this book, make sure you buy the second book, AN ECHO IN THE DARKNESS at the same time. I made the mistake of not having the second novel when I came to the shocking cliffhanger conclusion and nearly went insane running to bookstores to get the second book!

The following review from a reader on aptly expresses the power of these books.

Francine Rivers writes with such vivid imagination and color. The characters were so real that I felt I knew them personally, I felt I could touch them and talk to them. I read this book about 2-3 years ago and I will never forget the impact that it has had on me.

I found these books to be immensely satisfying. Not only were the stories lush and exciting, but best of all – the epic love story is sure to please. If you are looking for a Valentine to give as an expression of your own saga of love, make it MARK OF THE LION. Maybe read it aloud to your beloved! Just make sure you get all three books at the same time. You will be glad you did.

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    • peggypat profile image

      Peggy Patrick Medberry 5 years ago from Los Angeles

      Hi -- don't know if it is supposed to be Haddassah.. found it in photo bucket .. I think.

      They really are spectacular books... At the end of book one.. I was so hysterical I ran out practically in the middle of the night to get book two!!

    • profile image

      Nicole 5 years ago


      I love these books! I am wondering where you got that picture of Hadassah in the arena? It is incredible!