Book Review of The Secret Rebellion by Martin Baggen

The Secret RebellionThe Secret Rebellion by Martin Baggen
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Secret Rebellion opens during Ancient Rome’s rule over the Jewish people. The Jews are frustrated and angry that their people continue to be oppressed, robbed, beaten, unjustly imprisoned and slaughtered at the hands of Roman rulers. A small group of rebels has devised a plan with the hopes that this will finally lead the Jewish people to freedom. Presumably led by a preacher (Yohannan aka The Baptist) and a young woman of royal Hasmonean lineage (Miriam) the group travels throughout the countryside to preach their message to the Jews.

Miriam is an idealistic and passionate girl who devises a plan that goes horribly wrong. Just as she fears her failed plot is unsalvageable, in steps a young man (Yeshua) who is also a cousin of Yohannan’s. Yeshua is soon convinced to pick up where the unfortunate Yohannan has left off. Clearly just a man, Yeshua struggles with his new role of preacher and savior.

The Secret Rebellion is written in the style of the Bible, therefore POV varies – something that I found slightly confusing at first, but with which I quickly fell in. Much of the story parallels that of Jesus, with the huge exception being that Yeshua’s works were accomplished by the hands of man rather than by the hands of God and I wondered if this might turn Christians off.

The book is also a fairly short read, as far as novels go. I felt this somewhat limited the amount of time the author was able to spend developing his characters. For instance, I wanted to know more about Miriam and why she was so passionate about her cause. In addition, while not having a knowledge of the Bible and The New Testament in particular was certainly not a prerequisite to reading The Secret Rebellion, I did wonder if some readers would have a difficult time following the storyline, since there wasn’t a great deal of backstory included.

All in all I would have to say that The Secret Rebellion is a well-thought out, well-researched and intelligent book. The ending is left at a point where there is certainly an opportunity for a sequel. I’d be interested in seeing how the author might pick up the story. I would definitely recommend this book to readers.

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