The Centurion's Wife
series: Acts of Faith
Where to Purchase
A sweeping saga of the dramatic events
surrounding the birth of Christianity—
and the very personal story of Leah,
compelled into a betrothal she never wanted,
drawn by a faith she never expected...
When her family's wealth and power are lost forever, Leah is sent to Pontius Pilate in hopes that he might arrange a strategic marriage. But despite her betrothed's striking countenance and position, Leah deems life as a centurion's wife a fate worse than death.
Head of the garrison near Galilee, Alban has ambitions that could one day see him at the seat of power—in Rome itself. Eager to prove himself, he takes on the assignment of a lifetime, one that will put his career, his beliefs, and his very life at risk.
But when the death—and missing body—of an obscure rabbi find Leah and Alban searching for the same answers, what they discover changes everything.
"Oke, known for frontier romance, has left the North American landscape to go further back in time to first-century Israel in The Centurion's Wife, the first in the 'Acts of Faith' series. Joining her once again is co-author Bunn.
"Leah, who faces the fear and uncertainty of an arranged marriage, and Alban, the centurion to whom she is betrothed, evaluate the testimonies of those who follow Jesus and have witnessed His resurrection. They grapple with their own journey of coming to faith in this Jewish Messiah and the anxiety they feel while tin the service of the very man that had Jesus put to death.
"Sweet, mile and pleasant, the story steers clear of describing a darker, complex, pre-Christian Rome. The struggle between good and evil is much tamer than it could have been and difficulties are too easily resolved, yet it makes for an enjoyable read."
--Deborah L. Delk, Christian Retailing
"In their rendition of the story of the birth of Christianity, the authors use the ancient Judean way of teaching, which is to show that actions most often speak louder than words. The content is rich in the way of life in the 1st century, well researched, and very interesting indeed.
"The Centurion's Wife is a love story; one that goes well beyond the union of a woman of Judean-Roman descent betrothed to a Roman soldier. It tells of the love of God, who sends us the gift of his son, Jesus, and then it goes on to expand the theme through the Centurion Alban, who is love personified.
"Alban teaches us to 'love your enemy' and demonstrates his conviction by giving prisoners water to drink before questioning them--a practice of kindness unheard of at the time. He demonstrates the ultimate sacrifice of love, when he gives Jacob the freedom to choose the life that he truly wants to live. There are many other fine examples of Alban's teaching by action that you will recognize as you read.
"As far as the deep, abiding love between Alban and Leah goes, Romans 8:28 sums it up appropriately; 'And we know that in all things, God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.'
"I would recommend this book as a perfect introduction to those of you who have yet to discover the wide and varied selection of historical Christian fiction. To those who are well-versed in the subject, I recommend it because of the captivating way in which it brings an ages-old story back to life."
--Cheryl Steeper, Glad Tidings, November/December 2009
"In this long-awaited book by Davis Bunn and Janette Oke, the Holy Land under Roman rule comes vividly alive in rich historical detail. Leah, a young girl of Jewish-mixed heritage, is secretly commissioned by Pontius Pilate's wife to discover the truth behind the death of an obscure rabbi named Jesus. While engaged in this mission, Leah is engulfed in her own turmoil, as she faces the prospect of an arranged marriage to a Roman centurion, Alban, who seems to care for nothing but his own ambitions as leader of the Roman garrison near Galilee. Alban also has orders to investigate the mysteries surrounding the death of Jesus. Alban and Leah undertake separate journeys that lead them to each other and a new faith in Jesus as the Son of God. Well-written and well-researched, this book offers a unique view of events leading to the birth of the Christian church."
--MF, Libraries Alive
"In AD 33 in Caesarea Judea Province, Pontius Pilate cuts a deal with ambitious Centurion Alban, commander of the garrison near Galilee. Part of the arrangement is to have Alban marry his Jewess niece Leah. More a servant than a relative as her uncle hides their blood connection since her father disgraced the family name, Leah does not want to wed someone she has never met.
"Angry, hurt and desperate, Leah asks her mistress, Pilate's wife MIstress Procula for help in preventing the deal. However, procula has her own issues as she cannot sleep having recently suffered from nightmares re Jesus of Nazareth. Fearing for her Pilate and needing sleep, instead Procula sends Leah undercover amidst Jesus' disciples to learn what they and others plan as a recent assassination of a rabbi has caused open anger among the Jews. However, as she befriends Mary Magdalene and the others has Leah believing there can be peace and hope on earth, but she fears she still is in the dark because she will betray either her mistress or her friends and adding to her doubts is that she knows someone plans to kill Alban.
"The first Acts of Faith ancient biblical historical tale brings to vivid life Judea at a time when Jesus is crucified and resurrected. The exciting insightful story line focuses on Leah who learns to love and believe while she and her intended try to prevent an armed revolt that will leave many dead. Biblical fiction fans will relish this deep look at first century Judea as a time when religion, politics, and the military converge like no other time since."
--Harriet Klausner, Senior Reviewer, Midwest Book Review, January 2009
"Bestselling authors Janette Oke and Davis Bunn team up to create a sweeping saga of the dramatic events surrounding the birth of Christianity. Caught up in the maelstrom following the death of an obscure rabbi in first-century Palestine, Leah, a Jewess, is also engulfed in her own turmoil: an arranged marriage to an ambitious Roman soldier, Alban. Head of the garrison near Galilee, Alban has been assigned by Pilate to ferret out the truth behind rumors of a political execution gone awry. What Leah and Alban discover about what really has become of this man whose death--and missing body--is causing such furor will change everything. Offering a fresh, unique perspective on the life of Christ, The Centurion's Wife is an epic tale of danger, betrayal, and a love that crosses irreconcilable heritages, touching the inmost places in the heart."
"Beloved and best-selling author Janette Oke has dreamed for years of retelling a story in a biblical time frame from the leading female character's point of view. A best-selling author in his own right, Davis Bunn was elated to work with Oke again. this dynamic team has created a sweeping saga of the dramatic events surrounding the birth of Christianity titled, The Centurion's Wife.
"Caught up in the violent whirlpool of events following the death of an obscure rabbi in first-century Palestine, Leah, a Jewess by birth, is also engulfed in her own turmoil: an arranged marriage to an ambitious Roman soldier, Alban. How can she be forced to marry a man who is a stranger to her? Is there a way of escape in a society where men were given all power over women? How could she survive a loveless marriage, like those of her two sisters?
"Head of the Roman garrison near Galilee, Alban has been assigned by Pilate to search out the truth behind the rumors that Christ was not really dead? Or, if dead, was alive again? Leah's mistress, the governor's wife, secretly commissions Leah to also discover what has happened to this man called Christ whose death--and missing body--is causing such furor.
"What answers will Alban discover? How will they impact his ilfe? And his newly found love, Leah?
"Feel the danger that stalks Alban's path by those who would seek to destroy him. Walk with Leah as she is gradually accepted into the life of the believers. Wonder at how this man and his woman can ever be joined in marriage.
"The reader's own faith will be strengthened as he or she sees the courage and raw faith of Jesus' followers in the days following his crucifixion. Those poor peasants were ready to stand up to the Roman powers over them and no longer feared death for the One they loved. And watch what happens when both Leah and Alban are strangely drawn to those who had known Christ?
"The Centurion's Wife offers a fresh, unique perspective on the life of Christ. this novel brings biblical characters and New Testament settings to life. It is a fast-moving tale of danger, betrayal and a love that crosses irreconcilable heritages, touching the inner places of the human heart and soul.
"This Bible-based novel will keep the reader's attention from page one. The authors felt the story must be true to Scripture where characters and events of the day were incorporated. The authors, therefore, conceived to main characters, a centurion who appears briefly in the Gospel accounts of Jesus' life and a fictional young woman of mixed heritage. These would carry the plot forward, interacting with people and events at the first-century birth of Christianity.
"A great deal of research was done before the novel was ever finished. Author Davis Bunn went to the Holy Land seeking to tie the development of the characters and descriptions more firmly to the land, the times and the people. He said, 'Janette and I felt that it was important for The Centurion's Wife to capture the flavor and feel of life two thousand years ago.' Davis Bunn continued, 'My journey there was based around an opportunity to study with orthodox rabbi who, about twenty years ago, became a follower of Jesus. He taught me as much by the way he lives his life as he did by his study of the Scriptures.' They split the day in half--studying the Scriptures in the morning and traveling to various sites in the afternoon. The rabbi's intention was to help Davis Bunn see the region through the eyes of a Jew, and if possible, through the eyes of a Jew living under Roman occupation.
"About the authors: Janette Oke pioneered inspirational fiction, and her first novel, Love Comes Softly, has sold over one million copies. This best-selling author of over 70 books has had 32 novels translated into fourteen languages. She received the 1992 President's Award from the Evangelical Christian Publisher's Association for her significant contribution to Christian fiction, the 1999 CBA Life Impact Award, and the Gold Medallion Award for fiction. Janette and her husband, Edward, make their home in Canada where they enjoy their for grown children and many grandchildren.
"Davis Bunn is an award-winning novelist whose audience spans reading genres from high drama and action thrillers to heart-warming relationship stories, in both contemporary and historical settings. He and his wife, Isabella, make their home in Florida for some of each year, and spend the rest near Oxford, England, where they each teach and write."
--Marijane Troyer, The Budget, February 18, 2009
"When Pilate hears reports that Jesus' body is missing from the tomb, he fears a Jewish uprising may be in the works. He orders an ambitious centurion, one who hopes to marry Pilate's servant, to discover what has happened to Jesus. Meanwhile, Pilate's wife, plagued by nightmares orders the servant to find out the truth about Jesus. The novel takes place over the tow months following the resurrection. Bunn and Oke weave a romantic, action filled story that highlights the human reactions--fear, confusion, anticipation, doubt, skepticism--to Jesus' death and the events following. It's a moving novel that shows Christ's power to change hearts."
--Susan Olasky, World, March 28, 2009