Genre: Historical Fiction/Romance
Set in the first century, Ariadne is a strong-willed, athletic young woman, discovering her identity, and grappling with personal responsibility, ethical choices, love, sacrifice, and relationships (especially within her own broken family). She runs away from the oppressive environment of her critical mother, and the arranged-marriage set up by her grandfather, only to find that the freedom of her father’s household is due to his thievery. Ariadne’s natural athleticism makes her the perfect accomplice to her father. But an encounter with the Apostle Paul challenges everything she believes.
Afshar describes her intentions to write “a lighthearted story that still manage[s] to grapple with a few important issues” (373). In this, she has succeeded. Thief of Corinth has a realistic feel that thoroughly encapsulates first century Corinth, while remaining lighthearted and appropriate enough for teen readers.
The story is spread over several years, so it has a slower pace with several peaks, which eventually tie together nicely. I would not consider this suspenseful, but enjoyed the characters, and gentle narrative flow.
I appreciated how authentically and subtly the religious aspects were woven into this novel. I think the story could appeal even to non-religious readers.
Paul’s narrative teaching on love based on 1 Corinthians 13 was particularly touching, although also one of few scenes that brought out more of a contemporary than historical tone. I appreciated this, as the themes in the story are universal. Readers can easily put themselves into the atmosphere of the story, and find personal applications.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from Tyndale.