"Francine Rivers may commit hilarious anachronisms, but she can spin plot like nobody's business. In this first book of a trilogy, a courageous and pious Christian girl is enslaved in very wicked imperial Rome. Hadassah's faith and courage impress all who meet her, from her rich owners to Atretes, the emperor's superstar gladiator from Germania. Richard Ferrone reads with sensitivity and respect and a great sense of drama, holding the line against melodrama as the author ladles large portions of I, CLAUDIUS and LES LIAISONS DANGEREUSES on top of the Gospels and Paul's Letter to the Corinthians, creating a sort of spiritual bodice-ripper. If being entertaining while hammering home the message is a sin, Rivers and Ferrone are in big trouble. B.G. (c) AudioFile 2004, Portland, Maine"