A poignant tale of a young girl, who battles against all odds to hold on to her Christian faith in the face of intense persecution. Set in the time after the resurrection of Christ, when the Christian movement begins to gain momentum, the book introduces the reader to the horrifying destruction of Jerusalem and the Jews by the most powerful empire at that time… the Roman Empire.
The ruler of Rome is Vespasian, who like other leaders before him is impatient with any attempt to undermine the authority of Rome and its numerous gods. Hadassah, a young Christian lady is thrust into the furor that the colonizing power of Rome wroughts. She loses father, mother, brother and sister to the ravages of the war waged upon Rome. Hauled off with the rest of her people who are fortunate or unfortunate enough to survive the war, Hadassah is finally sold as a slave to the household of Decimus.
Through the entire journey before she is sold as a slave, she stubbornly clings to the unpopular belief that there is but one God and all other gods are a mere creation of man’s whims and desires. She watches death take away people around her and women loose their dignity and honor to lusting Roman soldiers but somehow, she remains untouched, as though protected by an unseen hand.
Decimus is an honorable man, who has been married to his wife Phoebe for over thirty years. They both have two children…Marcus, a young man who believes that life is meant to be lived for the sake of its pleasures and Julia, his younger sister self centered sister whose life Marcus unwittingly corrupts with his careless ideologies.
Hadassah is made Julia’s personal salve and sets out to convince this family of the undying love of God. She soon discovers that sharing her faith requires more courage than she anticipated and proceeds to demonstrate her faith through her actions. Her purity of heart and character eventually wins over Decimus on his deathbed and later on his wife phoebe. Marcus is drawn to her personality and eventually falls in love for the first time in his life.
Hadassah’s faith, which she shares with him from time to time creates a restlessness in his soul that gradually makes him abhor his former pleasure sated lifestyle.
Out of jealousy over the growing love between Hadassah and Marcus, Julia whose life is littered with two failed marriages and a broken heart after being spurned by a German gladiator arranges for Hadassah to be killed without Marcus’ knowledge. She tricks Marcus into being present at the arena when Hadassah’s slender body is torn apart by starving lions in front of a multitude of Romans who revel in the shedding of Christian blood. The novel ends with Marcus denouncing all ties to his sister and stumbling blindly out of the arena with an unbearable sense of loss and hopelessness gnawing at him.
“A voice in the wind” is Francine River’s first book in the mark of the lion trilogy