Friday, December 29, 2006

Review: City of the Golden House

1963/2005, Hillside Education, 297 pages, Softcover

Suspense, danger, and drama fill the lives of two young boys during the reign of Nero in City of the Golden House. After Rome burns, Nero sets out to build the most sumptuous palace ever, his future Golden House. This causes further unrest in an already starving and homeless population. To divert attention away from his extravagances, Nero blames the Christians for the fire. In the midst of this danger are Gretorix, a British slave, and his master Diomed, the crippled son of a Roman senator. Both are both curious to find out more about this new, outlawed religion called Christianity, but do they dare? If caught, the penalty is death.

First to leave his beloved home of England and then to be thrust into the midst of this new and terrible world without the man he has come to respect as his father is sometimes more than Gretorix can bear, yet his emerging friendship with his new master and his discovery of this new religion called Christianity gives new meaning to his life.

Tired, angry, and frustrated with his crippled legs, Diomed feels trapped and lonely in his room until he finds a friend in Gretorix. For the first time, Diomed feels like he can see the world through Gretorix’s dangerous excursions into the city. But, Gretorix turns out to be more than a companion and a friend as they both seek to find out more about this new religion that brings joy and peace to others, who are willing to die for it.

Spurred on by the hope that this new religion can cure him, Diomed is willing to risk everything to see this man the Christian’s call Simon Peter, the friend of Christ, the Living God, who once lived in Jerusalem. But he must be willing to trust his new friend Gretorix to help him. How will he be able to leave his home without the servants or his parents finding out? How can Gretorix take him? Will they find their way to the Christian’s secret meeting place? Will they be allowed in? Will he have the courage to do it? In the end, will Simon Peter be able to help Diomed?

The new edition includes historical notes.

Reviewed by Elizabeth Yank (12/29/2006)
Available from Emmanuel Books, All Catholic Books, Adoremus, Sacred Heart Books and Gifts, Aquinas and More, and RC History.

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