Imagine taking a trip to ancient Rome and the land of Judea in the time of Christ. The Advocate by Randy Singer provides a reader with such a journey. This fictional account of the life of Theophilus, the man to whom the books of Luke and Acts are addressed, grew out of the theory that Luke wrote those books of the Bible as part of Paul’s defense when he was on trial in front of Nero. Singer uses this premise, and the fact that little is known about Theophilus, to craft a thrilling novel about his life.
The story begins when Theophilus is a boy in Rome. When Theophilus becomes an adult, he is an advisor to Pontius Pilate. Theophilus is disturbed when he is unable to help prevent Jesus’ crucifixion. Later, there’s an assassination plot and a thread of romance.
Years pass, and Theophilus’s tale continues. Theophilus is asked to defend the apostle Paul as he goes on trial before Nero. During this time more people are becoming followers of the Way and are facing persecution. Theophilus learns the true significance of Jesus’ death and the life it brings.
I enjoyed the historical details that brought this story to life. Yet these same details provided a sobering reminder of lessons from history. For example, Rome traded its republic for imperialism when the Senate yielded power to Caesar. I couldn’t help but think of the United States of America. In addition, Roman culture was filled with immorality and was obsessed with entertainment. That sounded familiar as well.
Though this novel is long, I became engrossed in the story and read it quickly. Because of the engaging plot and historical details, I highly recommend The Advocate.