Twenty-one years after Christ's birth, two young men, Messala and Judah are talking together. Messala, a Roman, is mocking Judah, who is Jewish. Although the two young men had been friends when they were young, Judah began to see a distance growing between them. He realizes that he will no longer be able to call Messala his friend.
When Judah is falsely accused of intentionally murdering the govenor, he sees how much hatred his former friend really has for him. With no trial, Judah is sentenced to life as a galley slave on a pirate ship. For three years he has no news of his precious mother and sister.
Ben-Hur is noticed and admired by a tribune, Quintus Arrius on the ship. When they are attacked by an enemy ship and shipwrecked, Ben-Hur saves the life of Arrius. Arrius vows to adopt Ben-Hur as his son and make him his heir.
Five years later, Ben-Hur is a noble man who carries himself with dignity. He is filled with anger against the people who ruined his life, and wants to take revenge. He finds his chance when he gets the opportunity to race his nemesis Messala. Although he wins the race, he still has no peace in his heart.
He doesn't know that his mother and sister are alive, but ravaged with leprosy. Ben-Hur eventually encounters Balthasar, one of the wise men. The two men travel to Jerusalem, hoping to see Christ. Three days later, they happen upon John the Baptist, and witness the baptism of Jesus. He waits to see this King take His throne, but he is confused that it doesn't happen as he expects.
Ben-Hur is eventually reunited with his mother and sister after Jesus heals them from their leprosy. He witnesses the death of Jesus Christ and finally understands that Jesus is the Son of God, and that His kingdom is not of this world.
What I Like: The author does a pretty good job of condensing a really long story and still allowing readers to feel the emotions of the main character, Ben-Hur. I like the way Ben-Hur's salvation was written.
What I Dislike: The illustrations are very dark, sometimes too much so.
Overall Rating: Very Good
Age Appeal: 8-12
Publisher Info: Barbour Publishing, 2008; ISBN: 1597899704; Paperback $7.95.
Buy it Now at Christianbook.com for $2.99
OR Buy it at Amazon.com for $4.97
Special Info: Check out our other reviews of Chronicles of the Faith books