Official Review: Demons & Thieves by Brae Wyckoff

Please use this forum to discuss historical fiction books. Common definitions define historical fiction as novels written at least 25-50 years after the book's setting.
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cpru68
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Official Review: Demons & Thieves by Brae Wyckoff

Post by cpru68 » 10 May 2019, 11:24

[Following is an official OnlineBookClub.org review of "Demons & Thieves" by Brae Wyckoff.]
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4 out of 4 stars
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In the Gospel of Luke, Chapter 23, Jesus of Nazareth hangs on a cross alongside two men who have been convicted of criminal acts. While one of them condescendingly spits out offensive words, the other man asks for mercy. How did they come to be a part of such a significant piece of history? What did these individuals do to earn side by side invitations to one of the most talked about moments in scripture? In his book, Demons and Thieves, Brae Wyckoff offers readers a believable account of what could have landed these two crooks next to the Messiah.

The story opens with the birth of Dismas. His dad Nestor involves himself in a situation that changes their lives for twenty years. The repercussions of his actions haunt both father and son as each one struggles to find the meaning of life. Meanwhile, Roman rulers are terrorizing Jewish people, who try to skirt legal trouble to practice their sacred laws in peace. It is a pressure cooker of an atmosphere when Jesus arrives on the scene. He challenges not only the government regulations but his Jewish heritage when his teachings are deemed too radical. Even though he gains some followers, there is trouble brewing beneath the surface from both parties who want him eradicated.

Dismas and his sibling, Gestas, are Greek men caught in the middle of the culture clashes. Anger and resentment fuel their actions as they try to manipulate the system to their advantage. However, no one can be trusted entirely in this environment of secrets and lies as the two warring groups work to out-manipulate one another.

Demons come into play through the mythology portion of the novel. A portal is opened, and evil permeates people and territories. Ironically, some enjoyed engaging with the dark side, and not everyone was thrilled with having these cast out. It meant power being stripped away, and that put everyone on a level playing field. This was just another strike against the Son of God who went about healing the sick, raising the dead, and making demons flee. The enemies against the Savior gather momentum quite quickly.

Nestor, the father of Dismas, and his friend, Philos feel the effects of what it is like to be touched by the healing power of God. They want to share the good news, but they soon find they have to walk a tightrope of faith being careful about what they say and to whom.

This book is highly organized into sixty chapters and divided into five parts. While the length may make some readers take a step back, the reading is quick as the plot moves forward. I was surprised at how fast I could read a section, pick up more information and be satisfied until I had more time to spend on it. Also, I loved the fact that the author subtitled each chapter to identify the narrator. If the focus was on Dismas, his name was listed. If it was Nestor, this was written so that there was no confusion about which character was being highlighted. By the end of the book, the point of view alternated from father to son which I found to be quite engaging and added to the speed by which I was flipping pages.

There wasn't anything I didn't like about this novel. While I generally don't prefer a lot of bloody scenes, there are plenty. But, this is because a race of people are being beaten down and brutally murdered by a greed driven government. The author wasn't out of line with the way he depicted it, but for those who don't enjoy this type of writing, you may want to steer clear of this one because of violence.

I am awarding this 4 out of 4 stars. I only spotted a few minor errors in the book, so I am giving this the highest score that it deserves. I would highly recommend this to anyone who likes to read historical fiction that focuses on the Bible. I have to admit that the story made me think about the tumultuous time that Jesus walked the earth, and it isn't that much different than what we are experiencing in our society today. Much like then, people take sides, and territories are fought over, but there is always a still, small voice forging on spreading the message of God's love for humanity. That is what readers will find in this complex and true to life Christian tale.

******
Demons & Thieves
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Post by Rachel Lea » 13 May 2019, 14:30

I have always thought that the biblical account that this story expands upon was quite intriguing. I would wonder who the two thieves were and where they came from, and what motivated each to respond to Christ the way that they did. Obviously, Demons and Thieves is fiction, but this book sounds like a creative and well-written tale of what could have been the thieves' possible backstory. Great review!
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Post by kandscreeley » 13 May 2019, 14:50

I've thought a lot about the thief on the cross who entered paradise, but I've never thought about why those particular men were there. It's an interesting concept. I guess I wonder how much of this is based on actual historical details and how much is made up? Either way, it's something to look into. Thanks.
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Post by cpru68 » 13 May 2019, 16:57

Rachel Lea wrote:
13 May 2019, 14:30
I have always thought that the biblical account that this story expands upon was quite intriguing. I would wonder who the two thieves were and where they came from, and what motivated each to respond to Christ the way that they did.
Obviously, Demons and
Thieves
is fiction, but this book sounds like a creative and well-written tale of what could have been the thieves' possible backstory. Great review!
This was an enjoyable book! The author did a great job weaving a powerful story of redemption! Thank you so much for reading my review. 😊
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cpru68
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Post by cpru68 » 13 May 2019, 17:00

kandscreeley wrote:
13 May 2019, 14:50
I've thought a lot about the thief on the cross who entered paradise, but I've never thought about why those particular men were there. It's an interesting concept. I guess I wonder how much of this is based on actual historical details and how much is made up? Either way, it's something to look into. Thanks.
The author, in my opinion, took scripture and built on that. More than the two thieves, I have also wondered how the scene of Jesus casting out demons from the possessed men in the tombs came to be. How did those guys get into the tombs outside of town? It’s a good story for sure. It was an appropriate book for me to begin right before Easter. Very timely! Thanks for reading my review! Always a pleasure. 😊😊
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Post by Cecilia_L » 13 May 2019, 17:31

I like how you compare the time when Jesus was on earth, to the current. Excellent review--thanks for the recommendation.

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Post by cpru68 » 14 May 2019, 12:47

Cecilia_L wrote:
13 May 2019, 17:31
I like how you compare the time when Jesus was on earth, to the current. Excellent review--thanks for the recommendation.
It hit me so hard when I was reading the book that times of the past haven’t changed much. Like Solomon says: there isn’t anything new under the sun! Thanks for reading my review. I appreciate it. 😊 I’m going to go see what you have been up to reading...always good!
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Post by kdstrack » 14 May 2019, 19:42

Some of the facts the author uses for his book are true, biblical facts that can be verified: there were two thieves, there was demon possession. Some other aspects of the story line would seem to be embellishments. It would be interesting to see what he comes up with. I enjoyed your review. Thanks.

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Post by DogoMulla » 15 May 2019, 11:28

I would certainly enjoy a true to life Christian story. There is still a lot we need to understand in the Christian realm. I hope this book enables this. Thank you!

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Post by Brendan Donaghy » 19 May 2019, 07:36

I like the idea behind this book. Where I start to lose interest is when the author moves away from a straight forward historical fiction novel, and introduces demon portals and the like. Might give it a miss, therefore. Thank you for a great review!

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Post by imSunshine » 19 May 2019, 08:26

A piece from the bible always gets my attention because religion is a broad and debatable stuff..I love to read this one because of my religious views

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Post by amjohnson13mommy » 19 May 2019, 09:44

The bloody scenes I would enjoy. But sixty chapters. The only way I would read a book that long is if I thought it was very very engrossing which I doubt this book would be for me!
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Post by Ellylion » 19 May 2019, 13:35

Sounds like a very interesting read! I believe the author offers a true picture of that period of time. Those thieves are a mystery for sure :) I would love to give this one a try. Thank you for a great review!

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Post by GatugiM » 21 May 2019, 01:05

I would enjoy learning about how the two thieves ended up being convicted with Jesus. I am not sure about the violent scenes though .Thank you for a great review and recommendation.

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Post by Zeix » 23 May 2019, 15:01

The review was actually interesting. As for the book its not my genre.

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