Title: Thief of Corinth
Author: Tessa Ashfar
Genre: Biblical Fiction
Publishing Date: July 3, 2018
About the Book:
First-century Corinth is a city teeming with commerce and charm. It’s also filled with danger and corruption—the perfect setting for Ariadne’s greatest adventure.
After years spent living with her mother and oppressive grandfather in Athens, Ariadne runs away to her father’s home in Corinth, only to discover the perilous secret that destroyed his marriage: though a Greek of high birth, Galenos is the infamous thief who has been robbing the city’s corrupt of their ill-gotten gains.
Desperate to keep him safe, Ariadne risks her good name, her freedom, and the love of the man she adores to become her father’s apprentice. As her unusual athletic ability leads her into dangerous exploits, Ariadne discovers that she secretly revels in playing with fire. But when the wrong person discovers their secret, Ariadne and her father find their future—and very lives—hanging in the balance.
When they befriend a Jewish rabbi named Paul, they realize that his radical message challenges everything they’ve fought to build, yet offers something neither dared hope for.
About the Author:
Tessa Afshar is an award-winning author of historical and biblical fiction. Her novel, Land of Silence, won an Inspy award, and was voted by Library Journal as one of five top Christian Fiction titles of 2016. It was also nominated for the 2016 RT Reviewer’s Choice Award for best Inspirational Romance. Harvest of Gold won the prestigious 2014 Christy Award in the Historical Romance category. Her book, Harvest of Rubies was a finalist for the 2013 ECPA Book Award in the fiction category. Her first novel, Pearl in the sand, won her “New Author of the Year” by the Family Fiction sponsored Reader’s Choice Awards 2011. Tessa was born in Iran and lived there for the first fourteen years of her life. She moved to England where she survived boarding school for girls and fell in love with Jane Austen and Charlotte Bronte, before moving to the United States permanently. Her conversion to Christianity in her twenties changed the course of her life forever. Tessa holds an MDiv from Yale University where she served as cochair of the Evangelical Fellowship at the Divinity School. She serves on the staff of one of the oldest churches in America. But that has not cured her from being addicted to chocolate.
I have heard many rave reviews for this book, so I’m glad I was finally able to get my hands on a copy myself. I absolutely loved this story. While Ariadne herself is a fictional character, her story is heartfelt and a vision of what happens when people are introduced to Christ.
What I found highly interesting in this story, is that Ariadne is not introduced to Christ himself in the flesh, but Paul the Apostle. Understandably, Biblical fiction tends to have Jesus himself come in and do the healing and heart-changing. I believe that’s rooted mainly in the fact that many of wonder what it would be like to encounter Jesus face-to-face. We live in a day and age where even if people aren’t believers, they’ve generally heard of God and Jesus. What’s interesting is that in the beginning of this book, God is a mystery to Ariadne and those around her. He’s mysterious, unknown instead of the creator of all things and Heavenly Father. God didn’t change in the story, but Ariadne’s understanding of who He was did. Paul came to share the message of Christ and was able to do so without Jesus standing next to him. Now, please don’t misunderstand when I say it this way. Jesus was still present and still is deserving of the glory, but the verse “blessed is he who has not seen and yet believed” (John 20:29) comes to mind. It’s a calling that we can still show Christ to others without them seeing his physical body. We ourselves can still experience Christ without seeing his physical body. It’s a message that is as relevant today as it was for the characters in this story. We as Christians are to walk as Christ and reveal him to the nations. If we are in Christ, he will shine through us.
One other thing I found interesting in this book, is that it was about more than simply a thief in Corinth. Honestly, the thieving itself did not take up much space in the pages. Ariadne was very athletic, and took part in an old type of Olympics. She trained hard for it, and felt pride in her accomplishments. She had complex family issues that plagued her with guilt over her situation. She felt love and loss. She was developed as a human and not merely a thief as the title would label her. What’s interesting in this, is that there’s two ways of looking at it. From an outsider’s perspective, do you ever hear of a single sin another has committed and from that point forward see them through the lens of that sin? Or looking inward, do you ever see that in yourself? Ariadne began to see herself as “a thief.” She began to see her identity in her sin. Isn’t it such a powerful message of the truth revealed in Christ that we are given a new identity and hope for a future we would not otherwise have? If this isn’t a powerful example of redemption, I don’t know what is!
I highly, highly recommend this book. It was a powerful, thought-provoking read and one that I’m sure will stick with me for a long time. Tessa Ashfar has done an amazing job of painting Christ’s redemption in this story through the discipleship of those who knew and walked with Christ. This isn’t one you will want to pass up!
*I received a complimentary copy of this book through NetGalley. I was not required to give a positive review. Thoughts and opinions expressed are mine alone.
Age Appropriateness/Content Warnings:
*PLEASE NOTE: This section may contain mild spoilers but I do my best to reveal the difficult and/or triggering content without giving away the story.
I would consider this a clean read without great concern for content. I would say the most triggering content is around abuse of some of the female servants including the phrase rape but they don’t go into detail. I would recommend for ages 12 and up.