Friday, September 16, 2016

New for 2016: Ben Hur by Carol Wallace

 
July 19th 2016, 432 Pages
Print, Audiobook and Audio
Tyndale House (US), Lion Fiction (UK)

As one of the bestselling stories of all time, Lew Wallace's Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ has captivated and enthralled millions around the world--both in print and on the big screen. Now Lew's great-great-granddaughter has taken the old-fashioned prose of this classic novel and breathed new life into it for today's audience.

Coming to theaters in August 2016 as Ben-Hur, a major motion picture from MGM and Paramount studios, the story follows Judah Ben-Hur, a Jewish nobleman whose childhood friend Messala betrays him. Accused of trying to murder the new Roman governor in Jerusalem, Judah is sentenced to the galley ships and vows to seek revenge against the Romans and Messala. But a chance encounter with a carpenter from Nazareth sets Judah on a different path.

Rediscover the intrigue, romance, and tragedy in this thrilling adventure.

Also included: the inspiring story-behind-the-story of Lew Wallace--Indiana lawyer, author, and Civil War general.
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This review begins with an important note. I have not read the original version of Ben Hur, by Lew Wallace, nor have I yet seen the movie adaptation of this one, although I hope to soon. So, I cannot compare this to the original, only remark upon the book itself on its own terms.

Those familiar (as I am) with the old 1950s adaptation starring Charlon Heston from Television repeats each year will be familiar with the basic storyline. This version is, according to the author’s note, updated for our own time by the author’s great-granddaughter. I had never realized how much research went into the original- and how much the author got right (though there may have been a couple of minor errors- I’m sure there were no Lombards in the 1st century).

This version has enough of everything to please the modern reader, action, romance, intrigue, a great injustice to be righted, the iconic chariot race, and all of the original enigmatic characters. I have read a couple of Victorian/ Classic novels in my time, so some of the detailed descriptions of settings are lost in this version, and it’s up to readers familiar with the original to decide which they prefer.

For the more general reader, I would say this was a great introduction to the Classic story of revenge and redemption through The Christ, who is constantly in the background of the story, and of how people of the period may have responded to the coming of The Messiah. That I believe, was what Mr Wallace originally intended to explore in the work.

I received an e-book edition of this title from the Publisher Tyndale House, for the purposes of writing a review. I was not required to write a positive one and all opinions expressed are my own.

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