A.D. 30 is the latest novel by prolific author Ted Dekker. This work falls into the category of historical fiction, with Dekker weaving his tapestry of a story with various New Testament accounts of Jesus and his teachings during the time when Jesus was just beginning his earthly ministry. His approach struck a carefully measured balanced between laying out a sweeping epic that stands on its own strengths and relating who Jesus was and why his power enraptured those who heard him speak. I was quite impressed with how skillfully he pulled this feat off.
The story begins in the center of power of a bedouin tribe in the Arabian desert. Dumah has grown into an abundant oasis in the desert under control of Rami bin Malik, a sheikh whose vast wealth is due to his control of a number of key trade routes. Rami's control of the region was cemented through marriage to Nashquya, the niece of King Aretas of Petra. Nashquya has developed a strong bond with Rami's illegitimate daughter Maviah, who he had sold into slavery shortly after she was born to protect his reputation. However, after Maviah brought shame to her master's house for an unintended slight, she was sent back to her father. Her presence was barely tolerated in her father's palace and she was treated with contempt. However, when Rami's bedouin kingdom was overrun by desert raiders, he entrusted Maviah to restore her people by making a pact with King Herod Antipas in Palestine.
The story follows Maviah and her protectors as they made a harrowing journey across the unforgiving Nafud desert and up to Palestine. There we see a broken slave girl rise to fulfill her role as queen of her people before Herod. There she learns of a mystic named Yeshua who is preaching and teaching with a power never before witnessed. When she meets with Yeshua she is forever changed and her life is filled with his power only after she has been stripped of all of her strength and is laid bare before the sword of betrayal and death. I really enjoyed my time with this book and look forward to the continuing story in A.D. 33, slated for release next year.