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From the blood-soaked sand of the Roman arena, a divine destiny will rise.
For as long as Jonathan Tarquinius can remember, everyone has wanted something from him. His half brother wants him dead. His master’s wife wants his innocence. The gladiator dealers want him to fight—and die—for their greed. Rome’s most famous prostitute wants his love. And the gentle slave girl who tends the wounds on his body and the hidden ones on his soul longs for him to return to his faith.
What Jonathan wants is simple. Freedom. But God wants something from Jonathan too—something more than anyone would ever imagine. The young warrior’s journey will push him to the limits of human endurance and teach him that true freedom is found within. The greatest battle Jonathan must ever fight will not come in the arena, but deep within himself as he is forced to choose between vengeance and mercy—with the fate of an empire and the life of the woman he loves hanging in the balance.
In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. 1 Peter 1:6-8
Nancy Kimball’s debut novel Chasing the Lion pulses with raw emotion. It possesses beautiful juxtapositions of injustice with forgiveness, barbarism with kindness, and sorrow with peace. It drew me in from the start!
It is in my nature to root for the underdog. I believe this is why I felt an instant connection with Jonathan. Briefly, his story held similarities with the biblical character Joseph, but it quickly took on a shape all it’s own. After all of the injustices Jonathan endures, I was relieved when Nessa entered his life.
Nessa is to Chasing the Lion as Hadassah is to A Voice in the Wind (one of my all time favorite novels). I loved Nessa’s gentle way, quiet spirit, and indomitable faith. She is always shining the light of Truth into the dark world of the gladiator ludus with her words and deeds. Through Nessa and Jonathan, Kimball’s writing ultimately gives glory to God.
I believe men and women alike will connect with Jonathan and what drives him. Women will be touched by Nessa’s tender heart and gentle demeanor; poignantly displayed in her relationship with Jonathan. As a historical fiction novel, all aspects of gladiator life are showcased. In my opinion, these violent details spur the reader’s cry for justice and our desire to see the characters come to faith in Christ. Nessa and Jonathan left an indelible impression on me and I eagerly await Nancy Kimball’s next book!
A note on narration: Joseph Narducci earned a coveted spot as a 2015 Audie Award Finalist for his performance of this audiobook. An extended sample can be heard by visiting the author’s website. It was fortunate for me that audible allows listeners to adjust their listening speed. I felt that despite Narducci’s rich tone and pleasant intonation, his pace was a little slow. The ability to change the narrator’s pace enticed me to listen to the book a second time.
I received this audiobook from the author for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”