fiction set during Jesus' time

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fiction set during Jesus' time

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Dec 15, 2010, 10:42 pm

I read this book in 1999 in 8th grade for a middle school academic decathlon. I can't remember title or author. All I know is that it was set around the time Jesus lived and was about to be crucified. The main character lived alone with his sister. I think both of their parents died already. If I remember correctly, his sister was disabled in some way... not sure. He was really protective of her. A roman soldier or something came by to see his sister a lot, which really pissed him off. I think later he joined some kind of cult or rebellion. I remember Jesus being a minor character in the book (not sure if he had lines), but still significant in some way to the group that the main character joined.

I can't remember if the book was religious or not. I do remember the main character being really cynical about everythign but eventually loosening up with regard to his sister and the roman soldier.

Does this sound familiar to anyone? if it helps, this book was required for the jr high school academic decathlon for anyone who did the literature section in 1999. I greatly enjoyed the book and would appreciate any help towards finding it. Thanks.

Dec 15, 2010, 11:58 pm

This sounds to me like The Robe, by Lloyd C. Douglas.

Dec 16, 2010, 1:03 am

That came to my mind as well, though I haven't read it for thirty years.

Edited: Dec 16, 2010, 7:11 am

Actually, it reminds me of Ben-Hur, though his mother was still alive (I think, it's been a long time since I read it).

Edited: Dec 16, 2010, 9:19 pm

Unfortunately it's not The Robe or Ben-Hur. I started to feel like I dreamed the book. =(

Dec 17, 2010, 12:43 am

No, I don't think you dreamed it--sounds familiar to me too. My other suggestion was Quo Vadis? by Henryk Sienkiewicz--it has the romance between a Roman soldier and a young Christian woman, but I don't remember if she was disabled or if she had a brother. Do you remember if your book was particularly long or difficult, or if it was written for a younger audience?

Dec 17, 2010, 1:40 am

It's not Quo Vadis. Thanks for helping me locate my book. =)

I don't remember it being a difficult read. It probably was written for a younger audience since I did read it in middle school. I remember reading it around the same time I read The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner, and I know that was for sure catered to a younger audience.

As for the brief romance between the main character's sister and the soldier, I think it was mostly to emphasize his prejudice, and then later his loosening up. Sorry, its been a good 10 years since I read it, so I can't remember much else. I can't even remember if he joined the group that against Jesus or if it was supporting Jesus.

Dec 17, 2010, 8:11 am

Dec 17, 2010, 10:44 am

I Googled this and came up with a bunch of lists for academic decathalon readings circa 1999. I didn't see anything that jumped out at me as matching your description, but maybe you would . . . ? Many schools listed their individual lists.

Dec 17, 2010, 1:49 pm

It totally is The Bronze Bow. Thank you soooo much. I loved that book when I was a kid. You are totally awesome. Thank you.

Dec 21, 2010, 8:30 pm

Yay! So glad somebody figured it out! Now I have to go re-read too...