Sunday, July 24, 2016


Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ *****
by Carol Wallace

Overview: Carol Wallace, the great-great granddaughter of Lew Wallace (the original author), has updated this classic adventure.  She said in the introduction that she made the language easier to understand, added more depth to the female characters, and re-arranged parts of the book to help the book move at a quicker pace. She also took out the extensive descriptions of the middle east since we now have the ability to see pictures of that area of the world and have more of an idea what it looks like. I haven't read the original Ben-Hur so I can't comment on how this new version compares with the old.

In the back of the book there is a biography of Lew Wallace. On day an agnostic debater challenged him on why he believed in Jesus. Wallace realized that he hadn't really given much thought to it. So, he wrote this book in his spare time, over a period of four years, as he researched and thought through what the Bible said about Jesus.

Now on to the story...Judah Ben-Hur is a wealthy Jewish man living in Rome at the time of Christ. His long-time Roman friend falsely accuses him of murdering a Roman official. Without trial, Ben-Hur is sent to his death in the galley of a Roman warship, his possessions seized, and his family imprisoned. Stumbling along in chains to the warship and overcome with weariness, a young man offers him a drink of water. This is the first time Judah meets Jesus, but it will not be the last. Before they meet again, Judah will fight in a sea battle, live in Rome, race chariots, train soldiers in the desert, travel, fall in love...etc.

Themes: friendship, betrayal, love, family, heroism, faith

Negative elements: murder, brutality, seduction, revenge (but nothing is graphic)

Positive elements: Ben-Hur is a hero worth admiring throughout.

Conclusion: This is a well-written, action-packed story! I started reading it aloud to my husband, but soon all the kids were into the story as well. Even though there are some heavy elements, such as the brutality of the Romans, the story isn't graphic. I felt comfortable reading the story to the whole family. I haven't read a book I enjoyed so much for some time and highly recommend it for all ages!

There is also a movie coming out in August that we look forward to seeing now that we've read the book.

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review.