DiscoverHistorical Fiction

Redemption at the Eleventh Hour

By

Loved it! 😍

A worthwhile story of redemption and the possibility of living a truly altered life.

Synopsis

Living off thievery and evading the Roman authorities, Dismas is a man who looks out only for himself. But when a sudden misfortune leaves him stranded in a small village on the shores of the Sea of Galilee, Dismas has an opportunity to leave his fugitive existence behind. As a hired hand on a fishing boat, Dismas finds pleasure in work for time, and peace out on the sea. It’s an honest life—and he may have even found a woman to share it with.
But then tragedy strikes, and Dismas sets out on the road again to seek a man he’s been told is capable of miracles. However, being touched by the divine grace of this man cannot save Dismas from the Roman authorities if they finally catch up with him for his past misdeeds. As Passover approaches, Romans and Jews alike converge on the chaotic city of Jerusalem, where Dismas navigates trials of persecution, conspiracy, and murder that ultimately lead him to be an eyewitness to the most pivotal moment in human history.
With vividly imagined depictions of events from the New Testament, Redemption at the Eleventh Hour is the exciting tale of one man’s difficult journey towards salvation.

Redemption At The Eleventh Hour is sure to be one of the most unique books readers will encounter this year. Dismas, a seemingly irredeemable thief with no remorse for his actions, has a chance meeting with Leah, a local fisherman's daughter, an encounter that ultimately plants the seeds of change in Dismas' heart. But this is not your run-of-the-mill redemption story; a twist of fate alters the course of Dismas' life, leaving a soul ravaged by past shame open to grace and healing in the most unexpected of ways.


Andrew Crown has successfully crafted a redemption story that stands out beautifully amidst the many meaningful stories in Christian fiction. His descriptions, for all their simplicity, allow readers to easily imagine themselves placed in the most significant moment in all history, and they will be eager to follow Dismas down dusty, country roads to the streets of Jerusalem as he searches for Jesus and a life full of real meaning.


The characters, even those who play a more minor role, are memorable and unique. Whether it is the cruel and vengeful Roman, Bricius, or kind-hearted Leah, readers are alternately repulsed by and drawn to Crown's characters. These are fully-imagined human beings with faults and redeeming characteristics in equal measure, making what could have been "just another book" a truly worthwhile read that will leave readers with questions and an undeniable thirst to know Jesus better.


The only issue with the novel is the grammatical errors. While every book has them, it became obvious fairly quickly that the book could use another thorough round of editing. That being said, Redemption At The Eleventh Hour is a pleasantly surprising story that is sure to remain with readers for a long time. In a world that often focuses on the negative and the "realistic," it is refreshing to come across a book that celebrates the reality that people can, indeed, change, thanks to the One Who paid the price for our redemption.


Reviewed by

I'm a writer who is passionate about helping fellow fantasy writers reach their readers. I wrote my first novel, Penelope Grace & the Winter Carousel, to help people rediscover childlike wonder. In all likelihood, I'm currently off somewhere, writing about dragons & trying to survive on coffee.

Synopsis

Living off thievery and evading the Roman authorities, Dismas is a man who looks out only for himself. But when a sudden misfortune leaves him stranded in a small village on the shores of the Sea of Galilee, Dismas has an opportunity to leave his fugitive existence behind. As a hired hand on a fishing boat, Dismas finds pleasure in work for time, and peace out on the sea. It’s an honest life—and he may have even found a woman to share it with.
But then tragedy strikes, and Dismas sets out on the road again to seek a man he’s been told is capable of miracles. However, being touched by the divine grace of this man cannot save Dismas from the Roman authorities if they finally catch up with him for his past misdeeds. As Passover approaches, Romans and Jews alike converge on the chaotic city of Jerusalem, where Dismas navigates trials of persecution, conspiracy, and murder that ultimately lead him to be an eyewitness to the most pivotal moment in human history.
With vividly imagined depictions of events from the New Testament, Redemption at the Eleventh Hour is the exciting tale of one man’s difficult journey towards salvation.

Chapter I

With a trio of wooden crosses looming on a hill in the distance, ten Roman soldiers made their way up the rocky road from the city of Jerusalem. All, save for their leader Cassian, were begrudging their assignment—the grisly task of burying dead crucified bodies. The men had been assigned burial detail as punishment for offenses ranging from drunkenness to minor insubordination. They marched after Cassian in the early morning light, longing for another hour of sleep at the barracks as was currently being enjoyed by their fellow legionnaires.

           As an optio, second in command to a centurion within a Roman legion, Cassian had jumped at the opportunity for an independent mission—even one that involved supervising malcontents for a couple hours followed by delivering a mundane report. He had to start somewhere if he hoped to move up the ranks.

           The burial party arrived at the crest of the hill and looked at the wooden beams in disgust and alarm. Despite being accustomed to death, the soldiers were not prepared for the scene before them.

           While the middle cross was bare, two corpses hung from the crosses on either side of it. One of the bodies was intact; the bloody nail wounds on his hands and feet were expected. The other cross, however, caused greater apprehension. Thirty vultures, more than any of the soldiers had ever seen before, were actively picking at the remains, now almost entirely devoid of flesh. The vultures must have been eating all night, Cassian thought to himself.

           “How much longer has that one been on the cross?” a soldier asked.

           “They died at roughly the same time. About twelve hours ago,” Cassian responded, bewildered by the difference.

           “Then why did the vultures only eat one of them?”

           “Oy, maybe the other one didn’t taste very good,” another soldier suggested. This elicited a nervous chuckle from some of the men as they stared transfixed at the birds and the skeletal remains on the cross.

           Cassian broke the lull. “Men, get to work. I want half of you to take down the bodies and the other half to start digging graves.” He wasn’t yet a centurion but tried to compensate for his lack of formal command with authority in his voice.

           The soldiers divided the tasks among themselves and distributed the necessary tools—shovels for the gravediggers and pliers and axes for the men at the crosses. The vultures flew off in a rush as the Romans approached the crosses and began their gruesome duties. Once he saw the men in motion, Cassian went over to inspect the uneaten body. He had a flicker of recognition as he looked up at the lifeless face of the condemned man.

           “Oy, Optio,” Cassian turned away from the face at the call of one of the soldiers who was ankle deep in a partially dug grave. “Where’s the body from the middle cross?”

           “He was taken away earlier. Special burial,” he responded crisply, unsure of whether to correct the informal tone of the soldier.

           The soldier appeared stunned. “That thug Barabbas got a special burial? I didn’t think he was deserving of such honor after the things he did.”

           Another soldier answered before Cassian could. “No, I heard the governor made a last moment switch. He let Barabbas go and instead executed that alleged Jewish king everyone has been talking about.”

           The first solider looked even more incredulous. “He let Barabbas go? He was a really lucky brute then. I never thought I would see the day where a murderer is released like that.” He shook his head as he continued to dig.

           Another soldier asked Cassian, “Who were these two men?”

           “The one over there who the vultures seem to like is Gestas, a violent thief. And this one is…”

           With a sudden crash, the bones of the vulture-eaten man clattered to the ground as the nails and ropes that held him in place were removed. A few of the bones broke apart as they landed in a heap at the base of the cross. Some of the soldiers nearby began to retch at both the sight and the smell. Cassian held a cloth over his nose and mouth to prevent himself from doing the same.

           “Oy, you don’t see that every day,” the same grave digging soldier commented. With a grimace, he turned back towards his shovel.

Another soldier helping to lower down the still-intact criminal called out, “I heard it was a strange execution yesterday. The guards who were there couldn’t describe it to me last night. They were muttering nonsense and shaken like they had just come from battle.”

“Optio,” one of the bent-over soldiers near the reeking bones called out softly as he wiped the last traces of vomit from his mouth. He glanced at the remains of the two dead men and then back at Cassian. “What did happen here?”

About the author

I’m originally from New Mexico but have since settled in North Carolina. Redemption at the Eleventh Hour was largely inspired by Ben-Hur (both the movie and the book by Lew Wallace) as it follows the story of young man whose path through life ultimately becomes intertwined with that of Jesus. view profile

Published on April 03, 2020

70000 words

Worked with a Reedsy professional 🏆

Genre: Historical Fiction

Reviewed by

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