Reviewed by Heather R.
The Fisherman's Testament by
"If you enjoy authentic biblical history novels and/or would like to try something different for your devotional time, read Vidal's story of Vitalis's story about his response to 'the greatest story ever told.'"
Cesar Vidal's "The Fisherman's Testament" is actually a testament within a testament. Retired Roman soldier Marcus Junius Vitalis reminisces about an epochal event in his life when, after returning to Rome from his years serving in the East, he is summoned to Nero's palace where he is asked by Nero himself to help with the investigative hearing of a Jewish barbarian named Petros. As the investigation progresses, Vitalis finds himself becoming increasingly unconvinced of this man's guilt as he witnesses Petros responding to Nero's questioning without fear. Indeed, this barbarian's peaceful and authoritative eyewitness account of the Christos in the face of Nero's badgering and belligerence begin to affect Vitalis, the hardened Roman soldier, in unexpected ways.
I'm not surprised that this book won the Martinez-Roca Spirituality Prize in the author's native Spain. Vidal uses the courtroom scenario to give a faithful yet fresh rendering of one of the New Testament gospels; if you can guess who Petros's younger yet devoted translator for the court's Latin-speaking Roman audience is, you have a good idea which of the four gospels is represented here.
Indeed, the setting of a Roman court sometime in the 60s A.D. brings the gospel material to vivid new life as we picture these first members of the Way being brought before kings and governors on account of the Christos's name. Vidal gives us the mature Petros of his letters rather than the rash one of the gospels, someone who has been profoundly changed by the three years he walked with Jesus of Nazareth in his youth.
"The Fisherman's Testament" isn't much longer than the gospel it represents so it can be read in one or two sittings. If you enjoy authentic biblical history novels and/or would like to try something different for your devotional time, read Vidal's story of Vitalis's story about his response to "the greatest story ever told."
Heather R. Hunt is a business editor in Connecticut. For fun she reads, writes, cheers on the Red Sox, and enjoys tennis and cycling. She also co-leads a local tea party and enjoys holding government officials and media outlets accountable. Check out her blogs, The View from Stonewater and Connecticut for Sarah Palin.