The Advocate by Randy Singer is a richly woven tapestry of fiction and non-fiction, history and supposition all woven together, seamlessly stitched into a narrative of realism.
Through the eyes of Theophilus, Singer spans the history of Rome from the reign of Tiberius and Christ’s death to Nero’s reign of terror and burning of Christians to use them as torchlights.
Because of the history of the time and the horror of Christ’s death, the book has some gritty, gruesome and troubling passages. As you can guess, parts of this book aren’t for the faint hearted.
Singer does an exceptional job of making you feel as if you are there as the story unfolds. He begins with Theophilus as a young man training to be an advocate for criminals and follows until his death.
Throughout the book, Singer interlaces portions of the Bible into the story in innovative and unique ways. For instance, when Pilate is trying Jesus, Theophilus suggests Pilate offer Barabbas instead. He is sure the Jews would release Jesus, an obviously innocent man, rather than release Barabbas, an obviously guilty man. Theophilus is stunned when his “idea” fails and remains guilt ridden for life over the crucifixion of such an innocent man.
The Advocate, though fiction, will give you a new appreciation for the books of Luke and Acts; guaranteed to cause you to be unable to look at those two books the same again.
I would not recommend this book to younger readers due to the subject matter. Even though there is no cursing, there are strong undertones of sexuality and scenes of gruesome, barbaric violence.
Tyndale House Publishers provided a complimentary electronic copy of The Advocate, downloaded through NetGalley. (No review was required.)