Monday, November 2, 2020

Book Review: The Conqueror by Bryan Litfin

 I hope you enjoy my review of this new Christian historical fiction!

About the Book

The Conqueror (Constantine's Empire #1)
by Bryan M. Litfin

Description from Goodreads: 

It is AD 312. Rome teeters on the brink of war. Constantine's army is on the move. On the Rhine frontier, Brandulf Rex, a pagan Germanic barbarian, joins the Roman army as a spy and special forces operative. Down in Rome, Junia Flavia, the lovely and pious daughter of a nominally Christian senator, finds herself embroiled in anti-Christian politics as she works on behalf of the church.

As armies converge and forces beyond Rex's and Flavia's controls threaten to destroy everything they have worked for, these two people from different worlds will have to work together to bring down the evil Emperor Maxentius. But his villainous plans and devious henchmen are not easily overcome. Will the barbarian warrior and the senator's daughter live to see the Empire bow the knee to Christ? Or will their part in the story of Constantine's rise meet an untimely and brutal end?

Travel back to one of the most pivotal eras in history--a time when devotion to the pagan gods was fading and the Roman Empire was being conquered by the sign of the cross.


The Conqueror is the first book in a new Christian historical fiction series about how Emperor Constantine re-united the Roman Empire and welcomed Christianity. The two main characters are Rex, a young speculator (spy) for Constantine and Flavia, a Christian daughter of a senator for Constantine’s rival. They are on opposite sides of the empire, but they find themselves working together for the betterment of Rome and the Christians. 

I found this an intriguing book. The events chronicled are historical, as far as I understand, as well as the culture. I knew the bare details about how Constantine's rule changed the Empire and Christianity's relationship to it at the time. I knew the bare details, but this book takes it much further and goes into battles, culture, descriptions of monuments (some of which are still there), politics, Christian theology of the time, and much more. It was fascinating! And based on the author’s credentials and non-fiction books, Litfin seems to know what he is talking about when he wrote it (though ancient history is always a little spotty). I loved it.

The fictional part of the historical fiction is the two main characters. Rex and Flavia are fictional, as is their budding romance and their struggle with initially believing in Jesus and/or remaining faithful to Jesus in the tumultuous and sinful world. I believe the characters were dynamic and well-written, and I look forward to reading more about them in subsequent novels. They were really young, though, at least for an adult novel; both were in their upper teens. But I thoroughly enjoyed reading about them, whatever their ages.

I really enjoyed this novel and look forward to reading the following books in the series, whenever they’re published. Especially since this book ended on a bit of a cliffhanger! I recommend it to fans of Biblical fiction and war novels. 

I received a complementary copy of this book. All opinions are my own, and I was not obligated to write a positive review.

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