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Fifth Seal
by Brock & Bodie Thoene

Reviewed by April Gardner

"The elegant style of writing combined with just the right balance of detail and back-story makes a superb read."

The little town of Nazareth is a long way from Jerusalem. But is anywhere in Judea safe from Herod's evil clutches? Gossip swirls around the newlyweds Mary and Yosef. It is far too soon for her womb to carry the growing baby, neighbors say. Yet too much is at stake for Yosef to reveal the truth. He vows to protect Mary and the baby with his life, but how can he protect her heart from the barbs of betrayal? As beloved prophetess Hannah boldly foretells the coming of Israel's true King, King Herod plots her doom . . . and that of anyone else he believes challenges his throne. When a dying slave stumbles into Beth-lehem on a stormy night, shepherd Zadok and his wife, Rachel, wonder, Is her arrival guided by God or a trap set by the paranoid Herod?

~ back cover of Fifth Seal


Every Christian knows the story of Christ and his humble birth. It is what we do not know that makes “Fifth Seal” so enthralling. The Thoene’s expertise in Jewish history and culture is what gives this historical novel its outstanding quality. The authors’ talent for weaving an irresistible story is simply a bonus.

The elegant style of writing combined with just the right balance of detail and back-story makes a superb read. While most books I review are tolerable with a few being agonizing, I have yet to pick up a Thoene book that does not tempt me to put aside all other “must do’s” and sneak another page or two. Number five in the A.D. Chronicles series, “Fifth Seal” is no exception.

It amazes me how the Thoenes can take a basic Biblical plot—of which we all know the beginning, middle, and end—add a few original characters, then tell it in such an amazing manner that the reader is entirely captivated from start to finish.

The additional portion at the end of the book allows for an in-depth individual or group study and should not be passed over.

No matter where the reader is in his/her spiritual walk, “Fifth Seal” is sure to be all of these: entertaining, enriching, eye-opening, and a challenge to love the Savior more completely.

April GardnerApril W Gardner writes adult and middle grade historical fiction. Her first novel, Wounded Spirits, releases with Vintage Romance Publishing in November of this year. She is a member of ACFW and reviews for Title Trakk, At Home With Christian Fiction, and FIRST Wild Card Blog Tours. A military spouse, April has performed the art of homemaking all over the world. Currently, she lives in Georgia with her darling Hubby. A homeschool mom, she fills her mornings talking fractions and phonics with her two sweet kiddos. In her free time, April enjoys reading, gardening, and DIY. In no particular order, she dreams of owning a horse, visiting all the national parks, and speaking Italian. Visit April's Website or her blog, A Writer's Journey. You can also get to know April on Facebook and Twitter.