Monday, October 21, 2013


Tale of the Penitent Thief  is a compelling concept. However, the book itself proved a disappointment. 
Writing historic fiction gives an author liberty to fill in gaps in the historic record, not the license to rewrite known facts. I was led to conclude that either the author is unfamiliar with Biblical history or deliberately chose to ignore it. For example, he has Joseph and Mary escaping to Nazareth with their newborn, Jesus. Doesn’t everyone know they escaped to Egypt?
In this book the Magi warn Joseph to flee rather than an angel as the Bible says…and they leave the same night Jesus is born! According to the gospel, Mary and Joseph took the baby Jesus to the Temple in Jerusalem forty days after his birth to complete Mary's ritual purification after childbirth, and to perform the redemption of the firstborn, in obedience to the Law of Moses.
He later names Herod Archelaus as the father of his full brother, Herod Antipas. Are we to assume Archelaus slept with his own mother? The historical inaccuracies continue right up to the crucifixion. Death by crucifixion occurs by suffocation. A crucified individual does not have sufficient breath for the long, extended dialog the author places in their mouths.
In reality, Jesus also died before either thief, but not in this book. Recall they broke their legs to hasten death, but not the legs of Jesus? This verified scripture that “none of his bones were broken.” In this novel, Jesus receives the sword wound and continues talking. He was actually pierced after his death to verify he was dead.
As for the character twist at the end, it came as a surprise, but I found it too fantastic to be believable.
From an authorial standpoint Mr. Willis violates the prime directive of writing Show, don’t Tell. The book is nearly all telling. The author has an active imagination and perhaps needs to study fiction writing and then find a genre without the constraints of Historical Fiction. I wish him well, but cannot recommend this novel. —Gail Lewis

I received a free Kindle copy for review from BookSneeze.
Product Details:
Source ISBN: 1449791956
Publisher: WestBowPress (April 29, 2013)
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
Language: English