The story is set in Gerasenes (on the Sea of Galilee) just before Jesus healed the demoniac of Gerasenes. I didn’t really know anything about the book before I started reading besides what I read on the back cover. It didn’t even dawn on me until close to half way through the book where the story was leading. Sure, Galilee, madman among the tombs, herd of pigs, and Gerasenes should have sparked some memories of the story in Mark 5 about the demoniac of Gerasenes, but it didn’t. To me, this sets the book apart from other books that retell Bible stories.
The rescue of Zageus was somewhat disappointing to me at first. As I thought about the rescue, I realized the message that went along with it. The faith of the child lead to his deliverance and when God is on your side, no one can stop you.
I loved Samir; there was no doubt that he served the one true God from the beginning of the book (even before I realized where the story was going).
Some themes in the story: logic cannot save, you can resist evil, evil is a choice not a condition.
After completing the book on Tuesday night, I reread the story in Mark 5. I also read a short part of Acts where Paul is actually in Athens. (Acts 17:19) Sometimes authors rewrite stories but take some creative licenses. Not only did Tracy Groot get the story right, she researched many other historical texts. She captured the essence of the times beautifully.