Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Book Review: (The NEW) Ben Hur


Estimated ship date: 06/06/2016
ISBN: 9781496411068
Author: Carol Wallace
Publisher:  Tyndale House 
MSRP: $15.99

Review:

Yes, you read that right.  The NEW Ben Hur.

Now, I've always been a fan of the old Lew Wallace classic.  When I heard that his great-great-granddaughter Carol Wallace was coming out with a new version, I had, simply HAD to get my mitts on a copy!

Yet before diving into the new book, it might be a good idea to chat about the original, so here goes...

Judah Ben Hur is a contemporary of Jesus.  He is a Jew (in case you can't guess) born to a fairly well-off merchant family.  He's quite content with that life until a freak accident and false accusation propel him headlong into an epic adventure.

Now, I know "epic adventure" sounds cliché, but in this case it is the best way to describe it.  His is an adventure that spans the ancient world, giving you a very vivid picture of life in those times.  He interacts with all different groups (Jew, Roman, Christian, ...) as well as all different social strata from Galley Slave and leper, on up.

However, I don't want you get the wrong impression and think this is a dry history lesson.  Ben Hur must fight his way across the Roman world to stay one step ahead of those actively trying to destroy him!

One last thing I want to add is that the subtitle of the book is "A Tale of the Christ".  This is quite true, though I was very impressed how Wallace never allows even such a big, important thing to eclipse the story he is trying to tell.  In other words, this story is about BEN HUR and the author does a fantastic job of keeping that straight.

As a Christian author, and more specifically, as an action/adventure author, Ben Hur represents everything I aspire to write.  I guess that's why when Carol Wallace did a rewrite it was like a moth to a flame.

The new book has been redone in modern style and language.  It sticks very, very close to the original story -- some places being nearly identical, in fact.  (And, for the record, yes I was reading them side-by-side.)  Really, you could say that this is the original without all the boring parts and wordiness that can make the original a little tedious to read sometimes.

Though there is some material removed, I'd hesitate to call it an "abridged" version.  I hate those!  Carol Wallace was very careful to trim away things that got in the way of the pacing, so in that regard I can appreciate that.

As an additional bonus there is an afterward that talks about the original author, his war experience and the writing and life of the book.  To a geek like me, this alone is worth the price of admission.
(To whet you appetite:  Did you know, if it wasn't for a chance meeting with a militant Atheist, one of the greatest Christian books of all time would never have been written!??)

Summary:

This is a prefect way to introduce Ben Hur to your teens.  It is an enjoyable read that is fast-paced and adventurous.  Your boy will love it!

In fact, I could see this as a parental sneak-attack.  "Oh, you loved the book?  Did you know there's more to the story?"  Hand him a copy of the original to expand his vocabulary.

Disclaimer:

The preceding review was done on materials sent to me for free from the publisher.  If you would like your own book reviewed, please use the contact information here on my blog (www.EdmundLloydFletcher.com) or message me through social media. 

Additional Info:

Author Links:

http://www.carolwallacebooks.com/ 
goodreads profile

Author's interview about the book: