The Silk Merchant of Sychar by Cindy Williams

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21 – Roman Empire

One woman, five husbands and the weary rabbi at the well who knows everything she ever did.

The day after they bury her husband Leah Marcellus loses her baby. A widow and childless, what man will want her now? Her father arranges a second marriage—a profitable business arrangement—sealed on Mount Gerizim, the holy mountain where every true follower of Yahweh worships, but Leah’s heart belongs to another. Her passion only brings trouble – jealousy, murder and lies.

Leah’s skill at the loom and the secrets of dye –the woad, the murex and madder—brings her renown among the Roman women of wealth. Yet death and betrayal soon steal her security. In desperation, Leah sacrifices her peace of mind and risks everything to protect her family.

From the olive groves of Samaria to the bloodied sand of a Roman stadium to the exquisite silks brought from the East, The Silk Merchant of Sychar weaves colour into the biblical account of the woman at the well.

True Freedom by Carol Ashby

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118 – Rome

The chains we cannot see can be the hardest ones to break.

When Aulus runs up a gambling debt to his father’s political enemy, he’s desperate to pay it off before his father returns to Rome. His best friend Marcus suggests they fake the kidnapping of Aulus’s sister Julia and use the ransom money. But when the man they hired kidnaps her for real, Aulus is catapulted into a desperate search to find her.

Torn from his childhood home by Rome’s conquering armies and sold as a farm slave to labor until he dies, Dacius’s faith gives him strength to bear what he must and serve without complaining. After a deadly accident makes him one of Julia’s litter bearers, he overhears Marcus advising her brother to kidnap her. When Dacius almost dies thwarting the kidnapping, a Christian couple take them in to keep her brother from finding them before her father returns.

But pretending to be free again makes returning to slavery more than Dacius can bear, while acting like a common woman opens Julia’s eyes to dreams and destinies she never knew existed. With her brother closing in and her father almost home, can she find a way around Roman law and custom to free them both for the future they long for?

Second Chances by Carol Ashby

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122 – At Sea/Rome

Must the shadows of the past destroy the hope of the future?

In AD 122, Cornelia Scipia, proud daughter of one of Rome’s noblest families, learns her adulterous husband plans to betroth their daughter to the vicious son of his best friend. Over her dead body! Cornelia divorces him, reclaims her enormous dowry, and kidnaps her own daughter. She plans to start over with Drusilla a thousand miles away. No more husbands for her. But she didn’t count on meeting Hector, the widowed Greek captain of the ship carrying her to her new life.

Devastated by the loss of his wife and daughter, Hector’s heart begins to heal as he befriends Drusilla. Cornelia’s sacrificial love for Drusilla and her courage and humor in the face of the unknown earn his admiration…as a friend. Is he ready for more?

Marriage to the kind, honest sea captain would give Drusilla the father she deserves…and Cornelia the faithful husband she’s always longed for. But while her ex-husband hunts them to drag Drusilla back to Rome, secrets in Hector’s past and the chasms between their social classes and different faiths erect complicated barriers to any future together. Will God give two lonely hearts a second chance at happiness?

Deep Calling Deep by Carole Towriss

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61 – Rome

Praetorian Prefect Sextus Burrus has spent his life fighting for the glory of Rome, but that glory has lost its shine. As both his health and his career crumble, he is drawn toward the seemingly inexhaustible peace of one of his Jewish prisoners, the Apostle Paul. The moment Timothy hears his mentor and surrogate father Paul has been arrested, he rushes to Rome. Under the looming threat of execution, Timothy struggles to make sense of what is happening. Finally, an unexpected crisis requires him to reexamine everything, and places their hope for Paul’s freedom on the shoulders of Praetorian Prefect Sextus Burrus.

Faithful by Carol Ashby

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122 – Roman Empire

Is the price of true friendship ever too high?

In AD 122, Adela, the fiery daughter of a Germanic chieftain, is kidnapped and taken across the Roman frontier to be sold as a slave. When horse-trader Otto wins her while gambling with her kidnappers, he entrusts her to his friend and trading partner, Galen. Then Otto is kidnapped by the same men, and Galen must track them half way across the Empire before his best friend loses a fight to the death in a Roman arena.

Adela joins Galen in the chase, hungry for vengeance. As the perilous journey deepens their friendship, will the kind, faithful man open her eyes to a life she never dreamed she’d want?

A trip to the heart of the Empire poses mortal danger to a man who follows Jesus, especially when Galen must seek the help of an enemy of the faith for Otto to survive. Tiberius hunted Christians when he governed Germania Superior and banished his own son when he became one.

When Tiberius learns sparing Galen offers a chance at reconciliation with his son, he joins the trio on their journey home. Can his life-long hatred for the followers of Jesus survive a trip with the Christian man whose courage and faithfulness demand his respect?

Faithful is the fourth volume in the Light in the Empire series, which follows the interconnected lives of the members of three Roman families during the reigns of Trajan and Hadrian. The eight novels of the series will take you around the Empire, from Germania and Britannia to Thracia, Dacia, and Judaea and, of course, to Rome itself.

Paul, Apostle of Christ by Angela Hunt

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60s – Italy

Paul, Apostle of Christ is the story of two men. Luke, as a friend and physician, risks his life every time he ventures into the city of Rome to visit Paul, held captive in Nero’s bleakest prison cell. Before Paul’s execution, Luke resolves to write another book, one that details the beginnings of “The Way” and the birth of what will come to be known as the church. But Nero is determined to rid Rome of Christians.

Paul has survived so much–floggings, shipwreck, starvation, stoning, hunger and thirst, cold and exposure–yet as he waits for his appointment with death, he is haunted by the shadows of his past. He wonders if he has been forgotten . . . and if he has the strength to finish well.

Two men struggle against a determined emperor and the frailties of the human spirit in order to bequeath the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the world.

The Legacy by Carol Ashby

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114 – Rome

Betrayed by a ruthless son who’ll do anything for power and wealth, Publius Drusus faces death with an unanswered prayer―that his treasured daughter, Claudia, and honorable son, Titus, will someday share his faith. But who will lead them to the truth once he’s gone?

Claudia’s oldest brother Lucius arranged their father’s execution to inherit everything, and now he’s forcing her to marry a cruel Roman power broker. If only she could get to Titus―a thousand miles away in Thracia. Then the man who secretly told her father about Jesus arranges for his son Philip to sneak her out of Rome and take her to the brother she can trust.

A childhood accident scarred Philip’s face. A woman’s rejection scarred his heart. Claudia’s gratitude grows into love, but what can Philip do when the first woman who returns his love hates the God he loves even more?

Titus and Claudia hunger for revenge on their brother and the Christians they blame for their father’s deadly conversion. When Titus buys Miriam, a secret Christian, to serve his sister, he starts them all down a path of conflicting loyalties and dangerous decisions. His father’s final letter commands the forgiveness Titus refuses to give. What will it take to free him from the hatred poisoning his own heart?

To Deceive an Empire by Anne Garboczi Evans

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107 – Rome

Loving her could get him crucified.

Daughter of an elite patrician father and a Celtic woman, Gwen Paterculi chafes against the restrictions of Roman society. Her family thinks Caius Marcellus is a smuggler with the ruthless empire-wide smuggling ring, the Viri, as well as a violent lecher. But Gwen’s been kissing Marcellus behind secluded hedges for two years now.

Caius Marcellus isn’t even his real name, and the part he plays contradicts everything he believes in. Now that she’s turned eighteen, Gwen has decided it’s past time for Marcellus to marry her and she’s used to getting what she wants.

Marcellus has much too dark a secret to ever marry. Then both sides of his double life conjoin, threatening Gwen’s life. He could marry Gwen and thus save her life, but if she discovers his secret, she’ll not only despise him, he’ll hang on a cross.

What choice will he make? Either way, can Gwen ever forgive him?

Egypt’s Sister by Angela Hunt

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egyptssisterEgypt’s Sister: A Novel of Cleopatra

50-40s BC – Rome

Five decades before the birth of Christ, Chava, daughter of the royal tutor, grows up with Urbi, a princess in Alexandria’s royal palace. When Urbi becomes Queen Cleopatra, Chava vows to be a faithful friend no matter what–but after she and Cleopatra have an argument, she finds herself imprisoned and sold into slavery.

Torn from her family, her community, and her elevated place in Alexandrian society, Chava finds herself cast off and alone in Rome. Forced to learn difficult lessons, she struggles to trust a promise HaShem has given her. After experiencing the best and worst of Roman society, Chava must choose between love and honor, between her own desires and God’s will for her life. 

Unseen Love by Nancy Kimball

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unseenloveUnseen Love

79 – Rome

She has an uncertain future. He has a hidden past. Can a forbidden romance set them free?

In the shadows of pagan Rome, Laelia Ricarri’s recent blindness destroys her hopes of a betrothal to escape her abusive father. For Drusus, his new mistress is more capable, and beautiful, than she knows. Still tormented by the sins of his past, the only thing he fears more than falling in love with his mistress is failing her in his task. But his newfound faith has made him an enemy of Rome, and the reemergence of an old feud with a calculating rival threatens to ensnare Laelia within its dark grasp. As Drusus reawakens Laelia’s inner strength, his patient encouragement is awakening her heart. She’s learning to trust, as Drusus must also learn to trust in his God. When the indiscriminate tide of tragedy sweeps through Rome, Drusus and Laelia will have to put their faith in each other to survive. Even if that means being parted forever.

Destitutio Quod Remissio by Brett Armstrong

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Destitutio Quod Remissiodesitutioquodremissio

303 – Rome

For decades, Roman Senator Marcus Servius labored to become a wealthy and admired patrician man. But now, his world is shattered. After he is exposed as a Christian during a time of intense persecution, his home, wealth, and prestige are stripped from him. The most painful loss of all is that of his beloved wife, Cassandra. Destitute and wary, Marcus prays he will be delivered from his enemies’ hands as he struggles to realize a new path.

In desperate need of help, Marcus disguises himself and embarks on a dangerous journey to find Benjamin Truvias, the leader of a hidden church and the man responsible for Marcus’s conversion. After Benjamin offers aid, Marcus’s life finally finds needed direction. Yet, the more he helps the church through persecutions, the closer he comes to finding who betrayed him. Caught in a maelstrom of intrigue and deception, should Marcus discover the awful truth of who caused his fall, he must choose between vengeance and forgiveness—a decision that will affect the fate of all the believers in Rome.

Destitutio Quod Remissio is the timeless epic tale of a man’s struggle to rebuild his life amid ancient Rome after he loses everything he loves and his faith is tested in ways he never imagined.

A Soft Breath of Wind by Roseanna White

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A Soft Breath of Windasoftbreathofwind

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.

The Advocate by Randy Singer

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63 A.D. – Rome

At the trial of Christ, Theophilus, brilliant young assessore raised in the Roman aristocracy, stands behind Pontius Pilate and whispers, “Offer to release Barabbas.” The strategy backfires, and Theophilus never forgets the sight of an innocent man unjustly suffering the worst of all possible deaths—Roman crucifixion.

Three decades later, Theophilus has proven himself in the legal ranks of the Roman Empire. He has survived the insane rule of Caligula and has weathered the cruel tyrant’s quest to control the woman he loves. He has endured the mindless violence of the gladiator games and the backstabbing intrigue of the treason trials.

Now he must face another evil Caesar, defending the man Paul in Nero’s deranged court. Can Theophilus mount a defense that will keep another innocent man from execution?

The advocate’s first trial altered the course of history. His last will change the fate of an empire.

Her Roman Protector by Milinda Jay

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herromanprotectorHer Roman Protector

49 – Italy

When her baby is stolen out of her arms, noblewoman Annia will do anything to find her—even brave the treacherous back alleys of Rome to search for her. Desperate to be reunited with her daughter, Annia finds herself up against a fierce Roman soldier who insists her baby is safe. Dare she trust him? Rugged war hero Marcus Sergius rescues abandoned babies for his mother’s villa orphanage. When he witnesses Annia’s courageous fight for her child, he remembers that some things are worth fighting for. Helping Annia means giving up his future…unless love is truly possible for a battle-hardened Roman legionary.

Yahshua’s Bridge by Sandi Rog

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Yahshua’s Bridgeyashuasbridge

88 – Rome and Cappadocia

An amethyst stone draws him to his past. An elusive maiden draws him to his future.

Alexander is born into slavery under an abusive master: a master of his own flesh and blood . . . a man he will never call Father. Determined to break away from his master’s hold, Alexander devises a plan to purchase his freedom. But what’s he to do when he finds himself shipped off in shackles to Egypt, disappearing from the lives of everyone he knows and loves?

The Champion by Carla Capshaw

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The Championthechampion

84 – Rome

A Warrior without Equal, a Woman without Options
Triumphs in the Coliseum—and society bedchambers— made gladiator Alexius of Iolcos famous for his brutal skill and womanizing ways. Yet the only woman who intrigues him is Tiberia the Younger, who now needs his help. Protecting Tiberia places Alexius in the greatest danger he has ever known—from her vengeful father and his own heart…
Becoming a temple priestess may be an honor, but Tibi can’t bear to surrender her freedom or her newfound faith. Alexius’s solution stuns her. Marriage…to a gladiator! Scorned by her noble family, Tibi always felt unworthy. But with her champion by her side, can she accept—and give—a love strong enough to vanquish their enemies?

Pompeii: City on Fire by T. L. Higley

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Pompeii: City of Fire: A NovelCity on Firecityonfire

79 – Italy

Pompeii, a city that’s many things to many people. For Cato, it’s the perfect escape from a failed political career in Rome. A place to start again, become a winemaker. But when a corrupt politician wrongfully jails Cato’s sister, he must oust the man from power to save her.

For Ariella, Pompeii is a means to an end. As a young Jew, she escaped the fall of Jerusalem only to endure slavery to a cruel Roman general. She ends up in Pompeii, disguised as a young man and sold into a gladiator troupe. Her anger fuels her to fight well, hoping to win the arena crowds and reveal her gender at the perfect time. Perhaps then she will win true freedom.

But evil creeps through the streets of Pompeii. Political corruption, religious persecution, and family peril threaten to destroy Ariella and Cato, who are thrown together in the battle to survive. As Vesuvius churns with deadly intent, the two must bridge their differences to save the lives of those they love, before the fiery ash buries Pompeii, leaving the city lost to the world.

Petra: City in Stone by T L Higley

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Petra: City in Stonepetra

106 – Rome

Petra, the wondrous ancient city carved from the mountains of modern Jordan, is at the height of its glory in this gripping historical novel by T. L. Higley. A young widow, Cassia, and her son, Alexander, have arrived there seeking protection with her late husband’s estranged family. But when Cassia discovers the man she married was heir to the throne, the power-hungry Queen Hagiru plots to murder Alexander so that her own child will someday rule. The queen, priestess of the sun-god, Dushrat, calls on demonic powers in her quest, but Cassia is prepared for the fierce spiritual battle to save her son, joining a Roman named Julian and his community of believers in the Jewish Messiah. Together they seek a mighty movement of God far stronger than any dark heart or city made of stone.

The Protector by Carla Capshaw

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The Protectortheprotector

81 – Rome

Quintus Ambustus is a slave–Adiona Leonia is a wealthy socialite. He fights for his life in the gladiator’s ring–she plays cutthroat politics in Rome’s high society. He’s sacrificed everything for his Christian faith–she believes in nothing and no one. But when Adiona’s life is threatened, Quintus is chosen as her bodyguard, and their fascination with one another shocks them both. Neither thought to find joy in a match society would condemn…but their feelings cannot be denied. Have they lost too much to believe in happiness? Or will their growing love let them leave the past behind–and build a new future together?

The Master’s Wall by Sandi Rog

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76 – Rome

HE FIGHTS FOR HIS FREEDOM. SHE FIGHTS FOR HER LIFE. TOGETHER, THEY FIGHT FOR EACH OTHER.

After watching Roman soldiers drag his parents away to their death, David, a young Hebrew, is sold and enslaved to serve at a villa outside of Rome. As David trains to become a skilled fighter, he works hard to please his master and hopes to earn his freedom. However, an opportunity to escape tempts him with its whispering call. Freedom beckons, but invisible chains hold him captive to the master’s granddaughter, an innocent girl with a fiery spirit. David vows to protect Alethea from his master, the murderous patriarch, and contrives a daring plan—sacrifice his own life to save hers.

A Stray Drop of Blood by Roseanna M. White

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A Stray Drop of Bloodastradropofblood

30 – Jerusalem, Rome

Beautiful is a dangerous thing to be when one is unprotected. That is a lesson Abigail learns well when her master s son, Jason, takes her to his bed. Jason s mother, Ester, may have educated her as a daughter instead of a slave, his father, Cleopas, may have obeyed Hebrew law rather than Roman in the running of his household, but none of that matters to their son. At least, it doesn t until he has a child of his own on the way.

Over her seven years in the Visibullis household, Abigail has gotten accustomed to being a slave. She loves her fellow servants, she adores her mistress, and she respectes her master. She does not welcome change, neither when Jason decides she is better fit for a lover than a handmaid nor when he discoveres he loves her too much to leave her as anything but a wife. But she carries his child, so she can hardly argue. And maybe, given time, she could come to love him too….

Israel s unrest finds a home in her bosom, but their rebellion tears apart her world. Death descends with Barabbas s sword, and Abigail is determined to be there when he is handed the penalty for the crimes that destroyed her family. But when she ventureds to the trial, heavy with child and heavier still with hatred, it is not Barabbas that the crowd demands be crucified. Instead, it is the teacher Cleopas and Jason had begun to follow, the man from Nazareth that some call the Son of God….

She was born free, made a slave, married out of her bonds. But she never really knew freedom until she felt the fire of a stray drop of blood from a Jewish carpenter. She was disowned by Israel, despised by Rome, desired by all. Yet she never knew love until she received the smile of a stoic Roman noble.

The Gladiator by Carla Capshaw

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The Gladiator thegladiator

81 – Rome

He won his fame–and his freedom–in the gory pits of Rome’s Colosseum. Yet the greatest challenge for once-legendary gladiator Caros Viriathos comes to him through a slave. His slave, the beautiful and mysterious Pelonia Valeria. Her secret brings danger to his household but offers Caros a love like he’s never known….

Should anyone learn she is a Christian, Pelonia will be executed. Her faith threatens not only herself, but her master. Can she convince a man who found fame through unforgiving brutality to show mercy? And when she’s ultimately given the choice, will Pelonia choose freedom or the love of a gladiator?

An Echo in the Darkness by Francibe Rivers

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An Echo in the Darkness: 2 (Mark of the Lion)anechointhedarkness

70s – Rome/Jerusalem

Turning away from the opulence of Rome, Marcus is led by a whispering voice from the past into a journey that could set him free from the darkness of his soul. 

A Voice in the Wind by Francine Rivers

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A Voice in the Wind: 1 (Mark of the Lion)avoiceinthewind

70s – Rome

The first book in the bestselling Mark of the Lion series, A Voice in the Wind brings readers back to the first century and introduces them to a character they will never forget—Hadassah. Torn by her love for a handsome aristocrat, this young slave girl clings to her faith in the living God for deliverance from the forces of decadent Rome.