"They were the faces of my dreams..."
Claudia Procula--wife of one of the most controversial figures in ancient history--comes alive to twenty-first-century readers in a groundbreaking new novel by the award-winning author of the Lindsey McCall medical mystery series.
For decades, the daughter of the last Oracle at Delphi has suppressed the secrets of her birth, extensive education, and marriage to the notorious Fifth Prelate of Judea--Pontius PIlate. Now, at age seventy-nine, she feels compelled to leave behind her story for the world and set the record straight about the beginnings of modern history.
He has had his arms raised for how many hours now? Shouldn't there be a Joshua to help this Moses? I suppressed a smile at my wittiness, knowing better than to voice the thought aloud. My ladies would be shocked by my allusion to the great Jewish prophet. Well aware of my reputation as an empty-headed nitwit among those who served my husband, such low expectations had served me well. Best to maintain the fiction.
In a surprising change of genre and style, Wilder brings her extensive research and wide-ranging imagination to bear on the seminal story of our time: the passion of the Christ. The result is a compelling and harrowing love story replete with historical figures such as Seneca, Socrates, and Pilate himself. It is sure to captivate both believers and skeptics alike, and remain in readers' minds long after the last page is turned.
This is an amazing tale. The historical content gleaned from years of dedicated research is superb. You can literally feel the breeze against a tunic as you read about the characters walking in Judea. The focal point of the book, the arrest, persecution and prosecution of Jesus, brought tears to my eyes.
This is a book that discusses key aspects of world religion in the context of its larger story but this isn't a religious book. The author never preaches. The author engenders a deeper understanding of this time period then I think has ever been written before.
A sublime and glorious book I would give it 1,000,000 stars but I am held to 5+. Magnificent and should be read by everyone with a pulse.
It's been awhile since a story has been so well written that I felt like I was right there, having entered into the book, visited the places where our characters traveled... Some characterization of those who have been earlier written about could be expected to be recognizable. However, most readers will not know what is based on fact and what has been creatively hypothesized based upon research. The book is magnificent in every way. Each of the main characters presents a unique perspective that dramatically improves the basic story of Jesus' death and resurrection. I cannot find the words to express my emotional response to Lin Wilder's story. I can only say thank you...it was wonderfully inspirational for me...
or anyone looking for one of those easy, cozy reads, this is not it. For someone who is looking for a fantastic plot of the ancient world filled with suspense, romance, and history, this is definitely the book you want. Not only is this a well-researched book that allows the reader to actually feel as if they are walking the streets in Judea and living within this realm, it’s also a book that does not avoid controversy. It simply is a plot so well-crafted that the controversy comes second to the characters you will never forget.
Claudia is the wife of one of the most controversial, and some would say horrific, men to have lived in the ancient world. She is a woman who appears briefly in the Bible, in a single verse of the Gospel of Matthew, where she attempts to persuade her husband not to condemn Jesus to death. But this writer, the award-winning author of the Lindsey McCall Medical Mystery series, takes that person and quite literally turns her into someone readers of today can relate to.
Claudia is the daughter of the last Oracle at Delphi. She has a past that is more than amazing, but her need—at seventy-nine-years of age—to make sure her story is left behind for others who come after causes one to become enthralled. All Claudia wants is for people to better understand who she was and what her life entailed; and what Claudia “speaks” takes us back to a time that a great many will say changed history forever.
We hear about her birth and her intricate education. We also hear about the marriage to Pontius Pilate, where Claudia does her absolute best to show facets of this man in a good light. Unlike the difficulty you may have with Pontius Pilate and his ultimate wrongdoing, you will actually love the character of Claudia at the onset of the book. The life created for this woman is a mind-blowing walk through history, and your empathy for her will grow as you understand the battle that went on between her head and her heart when it came to her husband. The focus of this tale is Jesus—from his arrest to his eventual persecution, prosecution, and hanging from the cross as told through the eyes of Claudia as she witnesses the end of what many call the true prophet of the people.
The historical research that went into this book is stunning. And for those like me who love history, it made it a book to remember and recommend for a long time to come. But what may be the most incredible thing is the fact that the author walks that thin line all writers know about without ever falling off. To explain, this is not a book that preaches. This is not a book that tells you what is right and what is wrong; what is sinful and what is not. The reader never feels as if they are stuck in a classroom, nor do they ever feel judged. What they do feel, however, is a kinship to Claudia. They also come away with a feeling of satisfaction, as if they’ve seen life and understand it just a bit better than they did before. There is a very truthful love story presented in these pages, and being able to “meet up” with icons such as Socrates, is an added benefit.
Quill says: This is a compelling mixture of research and imagination, and deserves a place in every reader’s library.
Lin Wilder is a tremendously good author, on the highest tiers of quality, and with her books, you are always treated to a masterclass in author research for fiction. “I, Claudia” revels in this, giving Lin the perfect vehicle to apply this trade – and “trade” is the perfect word to describe Lin’s work, as she goes about her business of historical research with the thoroughness of a data analyst. Additionally, if you were in any doubt about the credibility, she readily references all her sources, even in her works of fiction. With her experience of writing high quality, meticulously laboured books, she is a professional in the craft, infusing fictionally dramatized events with copious amounts of factual accuracy and terminology. It goes without saying that she also is a superb writer.
There are two halves to this book, and two contrasting paces to them. The first is something of a slow-burner, focusing mainly on the engagement and journey of young Claudia and her husband-to-be, Lucius Pontius Pilate, to their initial meeting and marriage, with occasional entertaining reminiscences about good and bad times in battle, by the latter. I was perhaps expecting, from the blurb, that the young wife would achieve extraordinary things in her own right, but this was not really the case with “I, Claudia”, as she simply tells in her words an eyewitness account of her husband’s fateful final years; with regard to Claudia Procula herself, there seems little to tell (and, as Lin honestly advises us, there is very little of her in historical literature).
Where this book really started to hook and draw me in was its second half, and the inevitable introduction of Christ into the life of the couple - from this moment on I was utterly engaged. Certainly, we all know Pilate from this primary source - his part in the persecution and execution of Jesus - but Lin admirably portrays Pilate as a decent and honourable man, put in an unenviable situation; she presents a good case that the Prelate’s notoriety is a great injustice and misinterpretation of history. She does this objectively and even with a hint of respect for the man, and this is to her huge credit, because I know the huge importance of Lin’s own Christian faith to her (this said, if she is multi-layered about Pilate, her contempt for King Herod is notable – a character she does not so much craft, as dollop like some odious caricature across the page. Fair play to her for this, however – it can be reasonably assumed that anybody who murders a reported 14,000 infants is generally revolting, in anybody’s book). I have to be honest and say that whilst I don’t doubt the professionalism in Pilate’s repeated attempts to exonerate Jesus, I wondered if Lin was perhaps a little too sympathetic and forgiving toward the Roman, perhaps over-optimistically assuming the devastating guilt he felt for his part in Christ’s torture and murder – this was, after all, a man whose job it was to dispense brutal justice, and one would therefore presume that he did so ruthlessly, on many occasions. Still, remorse is something we all need to believe in for our own peace of mind, no less so than a Christian, to whom forgiveness is paramount.
“I, Claudia” is fantastically vivid and descriptive, as Lin sets every scene, mood and feeling intricately, as though you are right there in the setting, and in the mind of the character. Her account of Christ’s ordeal does not wallow in the graphic detail, and indeed the majority of his suffering occurs off-page, but, via Lin’s quality, detailed writing, you feel his pain nonetheless, through proxy of the two main characters. These parts are hard to read and extremely heartbreaking; you want his end to have been different, but of course you know it will never be, no matter how many times you read. Whilst I am not myself a person of religious faith, I believe in the existence of Jesus the man, and am disturbed by the brutal nature of the torture I am certain he suffered, before he died; I am in little doubt that Lin, like billions before her, has suffered for him – yet, she presents his end only with love, hope and forgiveness. And, that is, of course, the whole point of this semi-fictional book.
Lin is a very intelligent, articulate author, with a tremendous vocabulary, and most certainly a trustworthy source of factual detail. Whether for historical reference about Pilate, or purely for literary entertainment, “I, Claudia” is a wonderful book to read – Lin’s best, in my opinion – and I enjoyed it hugely.
I, Claudia is an insightful novel of the ancient world, the story of Claudia Procula, wife of Lucius Pontius Pilate. The narrative begins with a glimpse of Claudia's childhood. The suspense rises as she is about to meet Lucius, her betrothed. As Claudia adjusts to her new role and the politics of the area become impassioned, she wrestles with life, as her husband, Lucius Pontius Pilate, is forced to make difficult decisions.
Author Lin Wilder engages readers to join Claudia on an insightful and emotional journey in her novel, I, Claudia, a historical adaption from an almost silent perspective of the events of the ancient days of Jesus’s crucifixion. How does Claudia feel about her husband, his decisions, and her world in general? Read, I, Claudia, to embrace the unique experience of being the wife to one of the most monumentally conflicted men in history.
I love I, Claudia! This novel is a perfect blend of decription, emotion, expression, and historical connection. Reading from the shifting perspectives of Claudia and Lucius is instantly engaging. The author creates a deep connection between the characters and her readers, while painting the backdrop with elegantly crafted prose that brings the story to life.
I read this aloud to my children, who are ages 11 to 18, and they did not appreciate my taking breaks between readings. It is definitely a story that is difficult to put down! I've never read anything by Lin Wilder before, but I am excited to be a new fan of this author.
The prose in I, Claudia: A Novel of the Ancient World is gorgeous and the author’s language reflects the setting. Beautiful scenes greet the reader’s mental gaze, from the bustling surroundings to the day-to-day lifestyle in the house of Pilate. Beautifully paced, ingeniously plotted, and skillfully written, this novel is a page-turner for both fans of historical personages and narratives with strong religious themes. The author did the research thoroughly, but it is how the results of that research are woven into the story that will wow most readers.
I, Claudia: A Novel of the Ancient World by Lin Wilder is the story of Claudia Procula and Lucius Pontius Pilate. A Tribune at 28, after success in battle in Germania, Lucius Pontius Pilate was appointed Prelate of Judea to rule over the Jews. They were considered to be a fractious, unruly people that answered only to a god who’d given them very specific rules of behaviour, diet and morality. A troublesome bunch, they fought among themselves in various factions, united only against a common enemy: Rome. Judea was a powder keg of trouble and the least spark could set it off. Not only that, a troublemaker called the Baptizer was turning people’s minds and a prophet called Jesus of Nazareth was drawing crowds with his talk of spiritual matters. This is the background for a wonderful love story between Claudia Procula, intelligent and well-educated daughter of the last of the Oracles of Pythia, and Lucius Pontius Pilate, a Roman soldier and hero.
History has labeled the real Lucius Pontius Pilate as being the man who allowed Jesus to be crucified. However, the truth of the matter is that the situation was alarmingly more complex and volatile. Caught between the rock of the Sanhedrin and the hard place of Rome’s authority, Lucius was unable to deal with the festering political and religious issues of the time. Compromise was the only answer. And was that compromise somehow all part of God’s grand plan, even if it entailed the sacrifice of His only son? Such interesting questions are raised here that will intrigue both Christian readers and those of other faiths. Reading this story brings to life a tale well known to many Bible students.
The author cleverly incorporates enough ancient historical detail into the narrative to inform the reader while maintaining the flow of the story. The dramatic unfolding of events is told in short alternating chapters between Claudia and Lucius, and in this way her maturing and the development of her powers as an oracle, and both of them falling in love with each other come across beautifully. Their emotional love story is set against the backdrop of a tumultuous chain of events which we see as both Claudia and Lucius are affected by the man people called the Messiah. Quotes from Cicero, Seneca, Plato, Socrates, and other renowned writers and thinkers of the ancient world add extra food for thought and give insight into the mindset of the characters.
The pace is measured and in line with historical events. The region and the era saw its fair share of political turbulence and I liked how the author conveyed this throughout the narrative. The descriptions also evoke vivid imagery of the past, the setting, and social customs and behavior. This is a well-written and researched story that will satisfy fans of historical fiction as well as romance. The story itself encompasses themes and ideas which go far deeper than a review can adequately portray. Being a fan of ancient and biblical history, I thoroughly enjoyed this book. The author includes an Afterword and a bibliography, both of which I found enlightening and useful.