Friday, March 13, 2009

A beautiful tale of Ancient Rome and the early Christians

Twelve year old Gretorix is a slave from far off Britain. His master, Justus, has bestowed him upon Diomed, a Roman boy who is paralyzed from the neck down. The only thing keeping young Diomed alive is the hope that someday he'll be cured of his paralysis. When he hears that all Rome is abuzz with the teaching and miracles of the Galilean Simon Peter, Diomed sends his faithful Gretorix to find out all he can about the man and his God, Christus.

But trouble is brewing in the Eternal City. The profligate emperor Nero is at the height of his decadence, and the people are grumbling over the exorbitant taxes he requires to live his lifestyle. When a huge fire breaks out in the city, Nero desperately searches for someplace to pin the blame. With advice from his wicked Praetorian, Tigellenus, Nero falsely accuses the followers of Simon Peter--a shadowy sect known as Christians.

Originally published in 1963, City of the Golden House is a beautifully written novel that blends historical fact, legend, and fiction into a compelling and evocative story. Well suited for children ages 11 and up, the book includes an appendix with some historical data about ancient Rome and early Christian practices. This makes it ideal as a starting point for introducing your kids to this tumultuous period in history.

Highly recommended!