by Harry Freedman
“Jerusalem Imperilled” takes you back to Jerusalem circa 67 A.D., in Roman-occupied Judea. As stated in the book’s description, the story is told by Levi, a young man sold into slavery shortly after his wedding day. He ends up in Rome, penning his story as he hears it from slaves and others who come ashore at the dock he oversees.
I’ve not been a big fan of historical fiction but I decided recently I need to broaden my interests. I’m glad I did; Jerusalem Imperilled is a fascinating and engaging read. And it’s cleverly written. As a writer, I’m impressed with Freedman’s work.
I tend to favor books with a lot of action and Jerusalem Imperilled is loaded with action: a successful assault on the impenetrable Masada; hand-to-hand combat on the streets of Jerusalem; a daring broad daylight rescue of a boy cruelly condemned to lose his only good eye; a siege; and middle-of-the-night conspiratorial meetings.
I don’t like holes in a plot big enough to drive a truck through; things have to make sense. I would suppose with historical fiction an author must be given some creative license, especially when the book is set in a time with little reliable historical records. The plot of Jerusalem Imperilled is solid. Having studied the Old and New Testaments, a knew a little about Jewish life from that time and everything jived with my study.
Whether or not a book is good depends on its ability to hold the reader’s interest and attention. I stopped reading at least ten books in 2011 because they were either poorly written, horribly edited, or just plain boring. I looked forward to picking up my iPad when reading Jerusalem Imperilled. As a writer, there is no higher compliment. It’s a nice long satisfying read.
I highly recommend Jerusalem Imperilled.
P.S. I, too, thought "imperilled" was incorrectly spelled. Gasp! In the title! My Dictionary.com app said the British spell it with two "L's". Those Brits.