The Advocate in this book is a man named Theophilus, a Roman citizen living during and after the time of Jesus.This is labeled as Christian fiction, and for most of the book, I wasn’t quite sure why. The story nicely combines elements of both Jewish and Roman mythology. Theophilus, although having been present at the crucifixion of Jesus, maintains his worldview, which is fed in part by his Roman upbringing and by his Greek philosophical education. However, it takes an abrupt turn in the final portion, in a way that isn’t entirely believable.
It just feels like there’s something missing. I started losing a bit of interest toward the end, because it seemed like the climax had already occurred and it was dragging on, but it was really just ramping up to another larger part of the story. Because of the setting and subject, it’s difficult not to compare this book to Ben-Hur, so that may have increased my disappointment.
This book has a healthy balance of predictable and unpredictable. The violence is quite explicit and gruesome, which is not to say it is inaccurate. There was a strange switch from 1st to 3rd person POV that was unnecessary.
Overall, Singer has some clever ideas of how to fill in some of the historical blanks we’ve been left with, though this is clearly intended to be a work of fiction.
Rating = 3