Author: Jerry B. Jenkins
Publisher: Worthy Publishing
Book Review: Empire’s End
This was intended to be a sequel to I, Saul. I read several reviews of people complaining that it was not a true sequel to the first book and that the title was a bit misleading. I really enjoyed I, Saul and was anticipating the release of this one. There were unexpected delays in its release and a change in the title. Still, I couldn’t wait to read it, to see what happens next – which speaks well of I, Saul.
I began Empire’s End both excited to read it and disappointed that it appeared that two characters that he developed so well in the first book did not make it into this new book. That was a huge let down for me, as I was really wanting to see how he would further develop two of the characters, Augie and Sofia. In addition, there was mention of photocopies of original parchments of Paul with possibly some missing pages that also didn’t continue in the second book. I was a little disappointed. Finally, the title change is strange, as I think I, Paul would have worked better. There is some reference to the title near the end of the book, but no real thorough tie-in of the title to the majority of the book’s plot. This was cover-to-cover a story about Paul’s journey and growth in his faith.
On a more positive note, I liked the characters he developed in this story too. There were those I liked, those I loved and then… there were those I tried hard not to hate, but Jerry B. Jenkins wrote them so well that it was a struggle. I thought he did a great job with the story flow and making things authentic for that time period and I often felt that I was right there following along with Paul on his journeys. I’ve read several of his books and some multiple times, so I appreciate his way of painting life-like pictures with his careful choice of words. I enjoyed the pace and the chapter lengths. I know that may sound weird to some, but it matters. It allows me to keep moving through the story and ready for each additional chapter.
I thought it was interesting and fun to see how Jerry B. Jenkins thought things might have gone for Paul during those early years. Empire’s End made me laugh and cry. I got angry and felt my heartbreak several times throughout the story, only to find soon afterward that there was hope and joy. The range of emotions, the storyline, the characters, and pace compelled me to keep turning the pages. It had a very interesting ending, which I always enjoy. It does leave the door open for another book. I’m not sure I see that happening with this series, but I’d welcome it if one came out soon.
Would I recommend this book? Yes. You can read Empire’s End with or without reading I, Saul first. Though with that said, I would highly recommend reading I, Saul, as it was a great book too. I found my own faith was challenged by asking myself some tough questions, how would I respond if put in the same situations as these brothers and sisters. While this is a fiction novel, there is also a very real and common thread of truth woven throughout this book and history. Jesus paid a high price for our salvation and the reality is that sometimes His followers will be asked to pay a high price also. In the face of such opposition, how will we, how will I, stand? Prayerfully, I trust I will stand with God’s grace and by His strength.
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Thanks and God bless,