A Powerful Novelization from Bestselling Author Angela Hunt
Epic in scope, yet deeply personal, this novelization offers a unique perspective on the story of the resurrection. Roman Tribune Clavius is assigned by Pilate to keep the radical followers of the recently executed Yeshua from stealing the body and inciting revolution. When the body goes missing despite his precautions, Clavius must hunt it down.
His investigation leads him from the halls of Herod Antipas to the Garden of Gethsemane and brings him in touch with believer and doubter alike. But as the body still remains missing, Clavius commits to a quest for the truth--and answers that will not only shake his life but echo throughout all of history.
- Would be great except for the awkward sexual scandal...
An engaging story that is very entertaining and has a lot of cultural insights into the historical time period. Though the sexual scandal in these pages was not graphically described in extreme detail, I was still ready to turn it off or fast forward on occasions because they were describing a sexual scandal. I don't know if I would encourage anyone to read this book that struggles with sexual sin. Nor would I recommend it for children.
- good listen well done
It was a powerful book and well done
- Alternative perspective
Well written. Well performed. Glad more was added that the screen version.
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- Couldn't stop listening:)
Really enjoyed this story, just wanted to keep listening.
- A compelling story told from two conflicting perspectives.
Risen, by Angela Hunt, is a beautiful telling of the questions, fears, and beliefs that came after Christ’s crucifixion. What makes it so unique is that the story is told from two conflicting first-person perspectives: Clavius, a Roman Tribune, and a Jewish widow, Rachel.
I am looking forward to seeing Risen, the motion picture, when it is released. As I read/listened, I couldn’t help but imagine it on the screen. Especially after recently re-watching Mel Gibson’s, The Passion of Christ. Risen takes up where Gibson’s movie leaves us—with those people in search of tangible answers, and those who witness the risen Christ.
Clavius investigates the disappearance of Jesus’ body after his crucifixion, and furthermore, the rumors of him rising from the dead. His regimented personality lifts off the page, and his determination as an unbeliever is both felt and understood.
I held up my hand, silencing my overeager beneficiarii, and looked at the unmoving body on the center stake. “The Nazarene—obviously dead.” (Clavius, excerpt)
Though the story seems to focus more on the strong-willed Roman’s quest for the truth, I was especially drawn in by simple and tender Rachel, the Jewish bread maker, and her views of the world.
I saw him on the road—he fell right in front of me. He looked at me, and though I do not know much about such things, I do not understand how a rabbi can end up on an execution stake. I followed him to the place of the skull, but left when he sent his mother away. (Rachel, excerpt)
Audio Narration: Risen is told in first person, by two different narrators: P.J. Ochlan (Clavius and other voices) and Alana Kerr (Rachel.) Both of these narrators do a fine job of narrating this epic story. Their inflection is clear, concise, authoritative, and expressive.
Audio Production Quality: The production quality of this audio book is clear, with no distracting background music, static, or skips.
Overall Opinion: This is a powerful, compelling story told from unique yet just as potent perspectives. It leaves me moved, satisfied, and changed. In some areas, the narration is very detailed and lost my attention, (especially near the beginning) which is why I rate it 4 stars rather than 5. The writing is filled with rich history (infused with imagination.)
Audio Length: 8:20 hours
Pages (printed length): 320
I received a Review Copy from christianaudio. I was not required to write a positive review, and the options I have expressed are my own.
- See the Resurrection with fresh eyes
I have always loved history, but I haven’t read a lot of historical fiction. I prefer biographies and history-focused podcasts. In the arena of historical novels, Risen by Angela Hunt seems somewhat unique, blending fact, fiction, faith, and apologetics. In this novelization of the upcoming film, the circumstances surrounding the Resurrection of Jesus Christ (which I believe was an actual historical event), are presented through the eyes of two characters: a Roman tribune named Clavius, tasked with guarding Jesus’ body, and Rachel, a peasant woman living in Jerusalem who is struggling in her Jewish faith. As it turns out, viewing the Resurrection through the eyes of these characters was a powerful and affecting experience for me, even though their stories are fictional.
The book works on many levels: detective story, inspirational journey-of-faith story, and a sort of “back door” defense of the historicity of the Resurrection. Clavius, as he is confronted with the empty tomb and searches for the missing body of Jesus, is the living embodiment of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s famous quote: “When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.”
Other themes this book explores include the transcendent nature of God verses the pantheon of Roman gods, political ambition, the complexities of an extramarital sexual relationship, fear of death, and the philosophical problem of pain and suffering. Another theme that I found particularly striking was the way the ideologies of Rome, represented by Clavius, crashed up against those of Christ. Rome, all about force, wealth, glory, and expansion didn’t know what to do with these peaceful, unambitious followers of the Nazarene. All of these themes are all explored through dialogue and story, making this a powerhouse work of fiction.
However, Hunt does take a few missteps here and there. Clavius, as the central character is very well written for most of the book, but his characterization near the end of the book becomes increasingly inconsistent. Also, the disciples of Jesus are characterized in a one-dimensional fashion, with the exception of Mary Magdalene. And the climax of the book seems to run headlong into the predictable and cliché, as much as it attempts not to.
None of these issues, however, are enough to ruin Risen. In fact, I would highly recommend this book, especially during this season leading up to Easter. For the skeptic, this book will introduce you to the glorious scandal that is the death and resurrection of Jesus. For the believer, this book will help restore the wonder of the central event of Christianity.
One final word on the narration of this book: it is outstanding. Those chapters featuring Clavius are narrated by P.J. Ochlan, and those featuring Rachel are narrated by Alana Kerr. Both do a fantastic job.
Please Note: This audiobook was gifted as a part of the Christianaudio Reviewers Program in exchange for my unbiased review of this work. This has in no way influenced my opinion or review of this work.
- An inspiration to reexamine the scriptures.
Angela Hunt has done an admirable job of describing the events surrounding the death and resurrection of Jesus in an entertaining and engrossing manner. It was somewhat hard to separate facts from the Bible and additional stories and characters which, according to the author, were added to help fill out the story.
As I finished listening to the book, an advertisement for the new movie “Risen” appeared on my TV. This book is a novel based on the screen play for the movie “Risen.” I am now anxious to go the see the movie version of the story.
Although I have been a Christian for many, many years and am very familiar with these events, this book and presumably the movie are stirring me to go into my Bible and compare the events with those in the book.
The first-person telling of the story added to the experience. P.J. Ochlan & Alana Kerr’s excellent narration added to the play-like experience of listening to the book.
I was given a free audio version of this book for my agreement to review it but this has not influenced my personal impressions of the book.
- Fresh Storytelling of a Very Familiar Story
really enjoyed listening to this audiobook of the film Risen. Although I'm very familiar with the resurrection story from the Bible, this novel brought out lots of extra historical and cultural facts for me. I liked the way the story was told from the Roman and Jewish viewpoints, making it far more human than the accounts in the bible. The characters were well developed and their storylines kept my interest throughout.
The narrators Alana Kerr and P.J. Ochlan were very easy to listen to, although some of the male accents did niggle me a bit.
I would definitely recommend this audio to anyone who feels they've become over familiar with the Easter story, as it really helped to think about it with fresh insight.
Thanks to christianaudio.com Reviewer's Program for this copy.
- Inspiring Attempt to Personify the Resurrection
Angela Hunt's novelization of "Risen" is an inspiring attempt to personify resurrection stories. What is most appealing about this book is that the author brings characters to life who are relatively unknown but still have a historical connection to the events of the resurrection account. Using two first person perspectives, the story follows the Roman executioner and his lover and how they process the events surrounding the resurrection. The story is unique in that features two unbelieving characters as they deal with the mystery of the empty tomb. The author does a fine job of weaving in the common myths associated with the empty tomb that are relatively unfamiliar to the majority of people in a way that is both understandable and intriguing. Though the author also does a good job of following the general outline of the Bible's account, not everyone will agree with the liberties she takes to fill in the story. But readers should be reminded that this is a work of fiction using real events. The audio edition of this book makes use of both a male and female character to play the parts of the two main characters, which helps keep the interest of the listener. I received this book as part of a reviewing program from christianaudio.com and was not obligated to write a positive review. For more information, visit www.christianaudio.com.
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