Review

I, Saul

by Jerry B. Jenkins with James S. MacDonald

Seminary professor Augustine Knox is facing a salary cut, the serious illness of his semi-estranged father, and the frustration of a long-distance engagement. Life could be better. While pondering his predicaments, Augie receives an urgent message from his close friend, Roger Michaels, asking him to fly to Rome immediately. The cost of a last-minute flight is beyond what Augie can afford. Leaving the university before finals have ended is completely inappropriate. But Roger is a longtime friend, and now he is clearly a friend in trouble. Augie heads to Rome, determined to do whatever it takes to help Roger. The story Roger relays is unbelievable. Knowing Roger wouldn’t lie to him, Augie fears their lives are about to turn inside out by a document beginning with two powerful words: “I, Saul.”  

Augie correctly suspects that Roger’s problem is serious, but is unprepared for the depth of danger in which he is immediately immersed. They find themselves hiding from police and murderous antiquities thieves in a life-and-death pursuit of a stolen, priceless biblical document. It isn’t long before his fiancé, Sofia, joins them, thereby placing herself in danger as well. Shocking revelations and harrowing perils will cause the three to rely time and again on their faith and friendship if they are to right a wrong and survive to tell the story.

"Jerry B. Jenkins has given this captivating story a measure of everything: intrigue, romance, action, loyalty and politics, all wrapped beautifully in rich historical detail."

In alternate chapters, author Jerry B. Jenkins uses the Apostle Luke to journey the reader back 2,000 years to the Apostle Paul’s prison internment. Hardships abound for Luke, who must enter a city that has just been burned and tend to his friend, chained in a dungeon, where rotting corpses, anguished screams and utter darkness are the norm. But none of that matters to Luke, who, like Augie, will do anything for his friend. Tending to burn victims by day and secretly staying in the home of a prison guard by night, Luke makes daily visits to Paul, knowing his execution date draws near. He is amazed that it is not the executioner’s sword that worries Paul, rather the lost opportunity to spread the good news of salvation.

Luke knows that Paul’s only other concern is his parchments, on which he wrote his full autobiography. He wants the world to know that God took a sinner like him --- a man whose goal was to slaughter and imprison Christians --- and renewed his spirit through grace, mercy and forgiveness. Formerly known as Saul of Tarsus, Paul continues preaching while imprisoned, hoping to reach the hearts of his guards and fellow prisoners. Timothy finally arrives with the parchments, but they never make it out into the world. God has other plans for the famous apostle’s story and the people who will someday recover it.

Separated by two millennia, Augie, Luke and Paul share the bonds of loyalty, friendship and faith, as well as life-or-death challenges. Their unfailing devotion and strength in the face of fear and hardships will serve as an inspiration to all who read I, SAUL. 

Jerry B. Jenkins has given this captivating story a measure of everything: intrigue, romance, action, loyalty and politics, all wrapped beautifully in rich historical detail. I loved the two separate-but-connected stories, perfectly entwined with the themes of friendship and faith, centering on Paul’s autobiography. Clever dialogue, imagery-filled settings, and plenty of internal and external conflicts make it worth reading and sharing.

Reviewed by Susan Miura on September 19, 2013

I, Saul
by Jerry B. Jenkins with James S. MacDonald