A.D. 33 is the resounding sequel to Ted Dekker’s acclaimed AD 30 (abridged version now available) and continues the valiant journey of Maviah. Dekker takes a new approach to biblical fiction, choosing to focus on the narratives of the people on the periphery of scriptural accounts. The result is an illustrious story, rich in setting and experience. A.D. 33 is a delight for those who long for sensorial historical reading that is arresting in the scope of emotion and spiritual awakening.
New York Times bestselling author Ted Dekker delivers the gripping story of Maviah, a slave who becomes a queen in Arabia, A.D. 33.
They call her the Queen of the Outcasts. Maviah, a woman whose fate was sealed on her birth by this world-unwanted, illegitimate, female, a slave-subject to the whims of all. But then she met a man named Yeshua who opened her eyes. She found strength in his words, peace from the brutal world around her. Because of what he taught her, she has gathered her own traveling kingdom of outcasts deep in the desert, wielding an authority few have seen. But when her growing power threatens the rulers around her, they set out to crush all she loves, leaving her reeling as a slave once more. She must find Yeshua to save her people, but when she does, she will be horrified to discover that he faces his own death.
Enter a story full of intrigue, heart-wrenching defeat, uncompromising love and staggering victory…one that re-examines everything you thought you knew about the heart of Jesus’s stunning message and the power that follows for those who follow his easily forgotten way.
A.D. 33- Prologue
IT IS SAID that there are four pillars of life in Arabia, without which all life in the desert would forever cease. The sands, for they are the earth and offer the water where it can be found. The camel, for it grants both milk and freedom. The tent, for it gives shelter from certain death. And the Bedouin, ruled by none, loyal to the death, passionate for life, masters of the harshest desert in which only the strongest can survive. In all the world, there are none more noble than the Bedu, for only the Bedu are truly free, living in the unforgiving tension of these pillars.
Yet these four are slaves to a fifth: the pillar of honor and shame.
It is said that there is no greater honor than being born with the blood of a man, no greater shame than being born with the blood of a woman. Indeed, born into shame, a woman may find honor only by bringing no shame to men.
Even so, the fullness of my shame was once far greater than being born a woman.
Through no will of my own, I was also an illegitimate child, the seed of a dishonorable union between my father, Rami, mighty sheikh of Dumah, and a woman of the lowest tribe in the desert, the Banu
Abysm, scavengers who crushed and consumed the bones of dead ani- mals to survive in the wastelands.
Through no will of my own, my mother perished in childbirth. Through no will of my own, my father sent me to Egypt in secret so that his shame could not be known, for it is said that a shame unre- vealed is two-thirds forgiven.
Through no will of my own, I was made a slave in that far land. Through no will of my own, I was returned to my father’s house when I gave birth to a son without a suitable husband. There, under his reluctant protection in the majestic oasis of Dumah, I once again found myself in exile.
Through no will of my own, my father was betrayed by my half brother, Maliku, and crushed by the warring Thamud tribe in the great battle of Dumah.
Through no will of my own, Kahil, the prince of the Thamud, threw my infant son from the high window of the palace Marid onto the stones below, where his head was crushed. And with it, my heart.
Filled with shame and dread, I obeyed my father’s command that I go to Herod in Galilee and beg for audience with Rome, which had great ambition to conquer Arabia for its spice trade. I crossed the Na- fud desert with Saba, the mighty warrior who could not be broken, and Judah, the Bedouin Jew whom I came to know as my lion. Our task seemed beyond reason and our trials unbearable, fraught with fear and betrayal at the hands of kings.
We did not find audience with Rome. Instead, at Judah’s zealous insistence, we found audience with one far more powerful.
His name was Yeshua.
Some said that he was a prophet from their God. Some said that he was a mystic who spoke in riddles meant to infuriate the mind and quicken the heart, that he worked wonders to make his power evident. Some said he was a Gnostic, though they were wrong. Some said he was the Messiah who came to set his people free. Still others, that he was a fanatical Zealot, a heretic, a man who’d seen too many deaths and too much suffering to remain sane.
But I came to know him as the anointed Son of the Father from whom all life comes, a teacher of the Way into a realm unseen — a kingdom that flows with far more power than all the armies of all the kingdoms upon the earth joined as one.
One look into his eyes would surely bend the knee of the strongest warrior or exalt the heart of the lowest outcast. One whisper from his lips might hush the cries of a thousand men or dry the tears of a thousand women.
It was Yeshua who showed me how fear and judgment darkened my world; how shame deceived me, causing me to stumble in a stupor. It was Yeshua who told me that I was the daughter of his Father and that I too could find peace in the storms that rose to threaten me with their lies.
It was Yeshua who gave me the sight to see the sovereign realm when I was blind, and the mind to become as a child, in perfect peace through faith. It was Yeshua who gave me the power to prevail in the arena at Petra before King Aretas, an audience of many thousands who sought my demise, and his wife, Shaquilath, who had sent Judah, the man I loved, into captivity among the Thamud.
It was because of Yeshua that I was set free into Arabia with Saba at my side to gather any who might pay heed, and to liberate Judah and restore the livelihood of all those oppressed by the Thamud.
For two years I traveled from clan to clan with Saba at my side, offering the presence of Yeshua and a message of hope in the face of Kahil’s sword.
At first they cried out against me because I was a woman, suited for bearing children, not for leading men.
But I returned their anger with a gentle, unyielding spirit. One by one, they began to spread word of my strength and compassion.
One by one, they joined me.
But I dared not approach the stronghold in Dumah until we were as many as the sands in the tallest dune.
Now, over two years later, that day had come. And now, following in the Way of Yeshua, I would save my lion from his dungeon.
For Yeshua came to set the captives free.
A.D. 33- Chapter 1
THEY STOOD deep in the bowels of the palace Marid, the two most powerful warlords in all of Arabia, and if not, certainly the most brutal.
Maliku son of Rami, called the betrayer, because he had deceived his father, Rami, ruler of the mighty Kalb tribe, and led their enemy into the gates.
Kahil son of Saman, benefactor of that betrayal, whose sword had led the Thamud tribe’s butchery of Dumah, and of untold thousands throughout the desert.
A single torch cast amber light through the dungeon, revealing a third occupant who slumped in the corner of the expansive chamber. Rami, Maliku’s father, once the powerful sheikh of Dumah, now a mere skeleton dressed only in sagging flesh.
Wielding bloodied swords, the Thamud army had forced all resis- tant sheikhs to their knees, and yet one now rose from the sands to bring them to their knees willingly.
She was not a sheikh, nor did she bear a sword.
She was a queen and she would threaten them with peace.
“There is only one way to defeat her,” Maliku said, watching Kahil
pace. “We cannot use force, unprovoked, or our honor will be stained for all of eternity.”
“Honor.” Kahil cut him with a cold stare. “This from a prince who betrayed his own people only two years ago?”
Indeed. But Maliku had long ago accepted this stain on his heart. He cast a gaze at his ruined father, whose head hung low, unmoving.
“Maviah must not be allowed to live,” Kahil snapped. “This sister of yours — this dog who calls herself queen — she leads twenty thou- sand now, camped only six hours south. If we allow her to live, they will be fifty thousand within the year.”
“That day will never come. We will crush her, but not until we have cause.” He took a deep breath. “You must stay your hand and al- low Maviah to take our bait.”
“And if she does not?”
Maliku had underestimated Maviah once, and she’d humiliated him before the king of Petra and all of his subjects.
“As much as I swore to you that I could deliver my father, I swear that Maviah will come upon us herself with all the fury of the gods.” He turned to Kahil. “And then you will have your blood, and I, my re- venge. We must appear to be at odds before your father, Saman. Only play your part until I deliver her to you, brother. It’s all I beg of you.” Kahil studied him with a dark stare, then grunted and yanked his dagger from his belt. He crossed to the slumped form of Maliku’s father, jerked his head back, and slashed the old man’s throat.
Blood silently spilled down Rami’s bare chest.
Kahil shoved him to one side and strode toward the door.
“Never call me brother.”
**Disclosure: review copy provided by publisher**