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51 – Greece
Widowed Euodia, known to her neighbors as “the Lydian woman,” seeks to make a fresh start by moving to the foreign city of Philippi. She finds new purpose after meeting Paulos, apostle to the Gentiles, who opens her eyes to helping those in need, particularly women and those who have been enslaved.
Retired Roman soldier Hector has settled in Philippi with dreams of a future filled with wealth and status, pooling his army earnings with Lucius, his fellow comrade-in-arms turned business partner. His hopes are dashed, however, when Paulos robs their youngest enslaved girl of her lucrative ability to foretell the future, rendering her worthless to Hector’s ambition.
Determined to find someone to restore the girl’s valuable “gift,” Hector is willing to travel to the ends of the earth to do so. Following close behind him, Euodia and her servants embark on a journey to rescue Sabina and set her free forever.
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56 – Italy
Whispered secrets about her parents’ past take on new urgency for Chariline as she pays one last visit to the land of her forefathers, the ancient kingdom of Cush.
Raised as an orphan by her aunt, Chariline has only been told a few pieces of her parents’ tragic love story. Her beautiful dark skin is proof that her father was Cushite, but she knows nothing else. While visiting her grandfather before his retirement as the Roman official in the queen’s court, Chariline overhears that her father is still alive, and discovering his identity becomes her obsession. Both her grandfather and the queen have reasons for keeping this secret, however, and forbid her quest. So when her only clues lead to Rome, Chariline sneaks on the ship of a merchant trusted by friends.
Theo is shocked to discover a stowaway on board his vessel and determines to be rid of her as soon as possible. But drawn in by Chariline’s story, he feels honor-bound to see her safely to shore, especially when it appears someone may be willing to kill for the truth she seeks.
In this transformative tale of historical fiction, bestselling author Tessa Afshar brings to life the kingdom of Cush and the Roman Empire, introducing readers to a fascinating world filled with gripping adventure, touching romance, and a host of lovable characters—including some they may recognize from the biblical book of Acts.
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57 – At Sea
Tasked with taking the Apostle Paul’s letter to the church in Rome, Phoebe embarks on a tumult-filled journey over land and sea accompanied by her closest friend and a mysterious freed slave. Already having suffered persecution for her stalwart belief in Yeshua, Phoebe must overcome deep betrayal, a violent pirate raid, and the loss of every scrap of security she’s ever had, to travel to an unknown location and deliver Paul’s greatest treatise of the faith.
Will she find the resources and the trust she needs to complete the seemingly impossible task? Or will the ever-multiplying obstacles before her strangle her resolve?
30s-60s – Middle East/Roman Empire
An ambitious Roman soldier. A stunning crucifixion. An unlikely romance. A long war and a chance reunion—the moving parts that make The Centurion a gripping story of love, duty, and sacrifice.
Lucius has always dreamed of military conquest and Roman glory. Little does he know how a routine crucifixion will change him forever.
Curious about this “King of the Jews,” Lucius seeks out His followers and falls for one Mary Magdalene. But all is interrupted when Lucius is called to lead military campaigns. There the hardships of war, year after year, wear him down to nearly nothing.
When Lucius finally returns to Rome, the city has lost its allure. A chance encounter tests his allegiances, and he must decide who he is, what is real, and what is worth dying for.
This work of historical fiction includes an extensive annotated list of sources.
A Soft Breath of Wind
55 AD – Middle East
A gift that has branded her for life Zipporah is thirteen when the Spirit descends upon her, opening her eyes to a world beyond the physical goings-on of the villa outside Rome she has always called home. Within hours, she learns what serving the Lord can cost. Forever scarred after a vicious attack, she knows her call is to use this discernment to protect the Way. She knows she must serve the rest of her life at Tutelos, where the growing Roman church has congregated. She knows her lot is set. Yet is it so wrong to wish that her master, the kind and handsome young Benjamin Visibullis, will eventually see her as something more than a sister in Christ? Samuel Asinius, adoptive son of a wealthy Roman, has always called Benjamin brother. When their travels take them to Jerusalem for Passover, the last thing he expects is to cross paths with the woman who sold him into slavery as a child the mother he long ago purged from his heart. His sister, Dara, quickly catches Benjamin s eye, but Samuel suspects there is something dark at work. When Dara, a fortune-teller seeking the will of a shadowy master determined to undermine the Way, comes into the path of Zipporah, a whirlwind descends upon them all. Only the soft wind of the Spirit can heal their scars…with a love neither divination nor discernment could foresee.
So Shines the Night
57 – Rhodes
In a city teetering at the brink of anarchy, Daria finds hope among people of The Way.
She escaped a past of danger and found respite in beautiful Ephesus, a trading center on the Aegean coast, serving as tutor to Lucas, the wealthy merchant who rescued her.
But the darkness she fled has caught up with her.
The high priests of Artemis once controlled the city, but a group of sorcerers are gaining power. And a strange group who call themselves followers of The Way further threaten the equilibrium. As Daria investigates Lucas’s exploits into the darker side of the city, her life is endangered, and she takes refuge in the strange group of believers. She’s drawn to Paul and his friends, even as she wrestles with their teachings.
When authorities imprison Lucas for a brutal crime, Daria wonders if even Paul’s God can save him. Then she uncovers a shocking secret that could change everything—Lucas’s fate, her position in his household, and the outcome of the tension between pagans and Christians. But only if she survives long enough to divulge what she knows.
Thief: A Novel (The Brides of Alba Series)
6th Century – (Scotland)
Exiled in shame and wounded in battle, Caden O’Byrne accepts a mission of penance—to search for his healer’s long-lost daughter. At worst, he’ll finally get his death wish. At best, this could be God’s second chance. But the lovely minstrel Sorcha wants no part in him, his newfound God, or the rescue. In fact, she’s robbed him blind—to help finance her work of buying young captives and returning them to their families. She’s also gone into debt and promised to marry a man she doesn’t love—all for the chidlren’s sake. But before she and Caden can sort out the situation, a treacherous murder forces them to run for their lives…together. While Caden’s rekindled faith is tested, Sorcha wonders if his God is real. If so, can a thief like her dare hope for His mercy? And do the two of them have a chance of reaching home—Sorcha’s real home—alive?
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AD 57 – Israel
What if you were studying for your Ph.D. in archaeology and somehow got trapped in first-century Jerusalem after a controversial physics experiment went horribly wrong?
What if you knew from your history books that a kind and decent man was going to be murdered by the powers-that-be, all because of stupid politics?
What if you could prevent the murder, but you knew it might endanger the person you loved most in the world?
It’s A.D. 57 and Rivka Meyers desperately wants to go home, but her husband Ari is a physicist, and he says they’re stuck in the first century. He also says that the laws of physics say Rivka can’t change history. Rivka knows he’s wrong, and she’s going to prove it—by saving James the brother of Jesus from being murdered by the evil high priest.
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AD 57 – Israel
What if you were studying for your Ph.D. in archaeology and decided to take a break from your crummy life for the summer by working on an archaeological dig in Israel?
What if you met a great guy in Jerusalem who happened to be a world-famous theoretical physicist working on a crazy idea to build a wormhole that might make time-travel possible … someday?
What if he had a nutball colleague who turned the theory into reality — and then decided to use YOU as a guinea pig to make sure it was safe?
What if the nutball had a gun and went on a crazy, impossible mission to hunt down and kill the apostle Paul?
It’s A.D. 57 when Rivka Meyers walks out of the wormhole into a world she’s only studied in books. Ancient Jerusalem is awesome! Rivka can’t believe her friend Ari Kazan’s theory actually worked. But when she runs into Ari’s wacko colleague, Damien West, in the Temple, Rivka starts to smell a rat.
When Ari discovers that Damien and Rivka have gone through a wormhole that’s on the edge of collapse, he has to make a horrible choice: Follow them and risk never coming back — or lose the woman of his dreams forever.