Writer: Antoinette May
Translator: Ingrid Dwijani Nimpoeno
Publisher: Gramedia Pustaka Utama (2011)
Bought: Vixxio (IDR 25k)
There’s something magical about the life of Romans in the past. I always love reading about their history, because they were involved so much in shaping the current world we live in now. Antoinette May tried to capture the life of Claudia, Pontius Pilate’s wife, who more or less had been mentioned in the Bible during the court and crucifixion of Jesus Christ.
Of course, one major rule if you want to enjoy this kind of book is, don’t confuse the historical fiction with your religious beliefs. I am a Christian and I believe in Jesus Christ, but I know that sometimes, to enjoy a book, I have to try to forget just for a while on what I truly believe in.
So, this book told a story of Claudia, a gifted child who can forsee the future through her dreams or mind. Claudia was a daughter of the Caesar’s family, and her father was the military leader of Germanicus. Claudia longed for a god/goddess that can guide her and understand her life, and since a young age, Claudia had been a follower of the goddess Isis.
The politics in Rome was pretty chaotic, with Livia (Tiberius’s grandmother), ruled Tiberius with her spiteful tactics, and Germanicus, the real lovable leader, had to suffer from Tiberius’s envy and jealousy.
Claudia and her family followed her father wherever he was sent for his duty, usually assisting Germanicus to inspect Rome’s other colonies.
Claudia’s life was totally changed when she met with Pilate, and later got married to him. They were assigned to Judea and this is where the stories took off. At the time, the country was still confused on the rising of a charismatic leader called Jesus. Claudia thought that Jesus was harmless, but she couldn’t convince her husband to feel the same way.
Antoinette May took many events from the Bible but changed it loosely to fit with her story. For example, she said that Jesus got married with Mary Magdalene, a theory that also raised by Dan Brown in his book The Da Vinci Code. Also, from a historical point of view, Jesus was only another charismatic person. Of course no sane, logical person would believe him as the son of God.
And does this kind of book ruin my faith? Change my beliefs?
I think it takes more than a novel to make me lose my faith. This kind of book makes me rethink everything in a different point of view, but can’t really shake anything I’ve believed. I quite enjoyed it though, the story flows nicely and the descriptions are marvelous.
The ending is predictable, of course, but still pretty good. All in all, a decent historical fiction with some biblical reference. It can be better, but it’s decent enough 🙂