Miracle in a Dry Season    Dangerous Passage

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Sixth Covenant
by Bodie & Brock Thoene

Reviewed by April Gardner

"...reveals God's love toward mankind, toward me, for what it is---incomprehensible."

Beth-lehem, six miles from Jerusalem, is comprised of simple folk who spend their days tending sheep, newborn lambs, and their own families. Among them—as guests of Zadok, Rachel, and their three little boys—are Mary, Yosef, and baby Yeshua, whose birth was announced by a miraculous conjunction of the stars and a throng of angels in the sheep fields.

Convinced by their study of the stars and prophecies that the long-awaited Messiah has been born, foreigners travel toward Jerusalem. Surely, the capital city of the Jews will hold the answer to the mystery they have sought for months.

Tortured by nightmares that someone is coming to take over his kingdom, King Herod grows more paranoid. He gives an order to his soldiers—one more devastating and evil than anyone could imagine. That very night, soldiers and their mouths thunder toward Beth-lehem, the village of the sacrificial lambs…

~ back cover of Sixth Covenant


Profound and intense, Sixth Covenant is sixth in the A.D Chronicles series and third in the diversion relating to Christ’s birth. The Thoene’s work is primarily historical, yet this latest is more heavily so. But how could it not be? Writing a half-hearted novel based on the Nativity would be to squander an opportunity to win souls and disciple ignorant believers.

The content might be deep and, at times, overwhelming, but I would have it no other way. In fact, I plan to re-read it simply to better absorb the scads of prophetic Scripture proving Christ to be the Messiah. What better way to become grounded in the Word than through an entertaining read?

The love between Zadok, Rachel, and their boys is tender and real, and powerfully written, making the inevitable conclusion of the book that much more heart wrenching.

More was required of Beth-lehem that cold winter than spotless lambs destined for sacrifice at the Temple. Herod’s attack on the innocents is anticipated, but that lessens none of the impact. Did I ever realize how fully Beth-lehem paid to host the arrival of the Messiah?

The quality of the writing is as superb as always. Bodie only betters with each novel, and I truly believe it is a gift from God for faithfully drawing others to Him in this way.

A squad of Herodian soldiers tramped ahead of the royal party, and another followed after. A stiff breeze from the sea plastered red tunics against bodies. Green cloaks flapped toward Parthia. Helmet plumes drooped in the drizzling rain and leather fittings creaked. Herod’s litter bearers were shod with Roman boots like his soldiers. Hundreds of hobnails screeched on the slick paving of the ascent. --Sixth Covenant

You have it, don’t you. The picture in your mind? Such simplicity creates an elegant picture. The entire book continues this way, with each character a breathing individual. It makes for a pendulum of satisfying and excruciating emotions. The Thoenes are certainly in a league of their own. Most literature is weak and shallow in comparison.

What grabs me about the A.D. Chronicles is that, although two millennia have passed, the events in these novels have personal significance for me. What other novel can claim that the plot (fictional characters aside) was written before the beginning of time with each reader’s eternity in mind?

Most impacting of all, Sixth Covenant reveals God’s love toward mankind, toward me, for what it is—incomprehensible.

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.