Shadow of Colosus by T.L. Higley (Canada ) - (US)
A Seven Wonders Novel, Book 1
Pages: 386 pgs.
Finished: Dec. 21, 2009
First Published: Aug. 1, 2008
Genre: historical fiction, christian fiction
In the deceitful calm of the days preceding disaster, while Rhodes still glittered like a white jewel in the Aegean, Tesa of Delos planned to open her wrists.
Acquired: Received an unsolicited review copy from the publisher.
Reason for Reading: I had been wanting to read it anyway. The Ancient Greece and Seven Wonders angle appealed to me.
Summary: Set in 227 BC on the Greek island of Rhodes, Tesa was sold into bondage by her mother ten years ago and has been a courtesan ever since. She holds quite a high position in society as the hetaera of a wealthy politician, but still she must meet his every need in the privacy of his home. When her patrician is accidentally killed Tesa comes up with a plan to finally escape this island and its bondage but at this time she also meets a young man different than all the other men whom she has grown cold towards, this man actually seems to care. And all the while brewing deep beneath the earth the tectonic plates are coming together in what will be an immense earthquake that will destroy not only the Greek town and Jew village but also bring the Colossus statue of Helios to it's knees.
Comment: I enjoyed this a lot more than I thought I would. I have to say I wasn't particularly in an Ancient history mood when I sat down to read it but the book grabbed me from the first chapter onwards. Tesa is a strong character caught in an ugly life of slavery and prostitution from which she is determined to free herself. Though to have survived so long in this lifestyle she has set aside her joy for life and become a cold, unfeeling person, impossible to reach. When she finds love it is extremely hard for her to set aside the control she has placed on her feelings for so long.
The book has an exciting political plot, with people plotting behind one another's backs to become the most powerful one. With three deaths and a near mass murder, one cannot help but be carried away by the fast-paced, exciting plot. Part love story, part political thriller and part examination of the Old Testament Jewish faith this engaging read was a page-turner for me.
From a Christian publisher I feel the label "Christian fiction" is a bit of a misnomer as the story takes place 227 years before Christ. Yet one can't quite call it "Biblical fiction" as the events are fictional, not from the Bible. I'm more apt to call this simply "historical fiction" or "historical romance" that mainstream readers would most likely enjoy. There are Jewish characters who believe in God and they introduce Him to a couple of Greek characters. There is one sentence near the end of the book where a Jewish character mentions the coming, one day, of a Messiah. I'd recommend to anyone, regardless of creed, who is interested in the time period. I'm looking forward to reading other books in this series.