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Mark of the Lion Books In Order

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Publication Order of Mark of the Lion Books

A Voice in the Wind (1993)Description / Buy at Amazon
An Echo in the Darkness (1994)Description / Buy at Amazon
As Sure as the Dawn (1995)Description / Buy at Amazon

Mark of the Lion by Francine Rivers is a series of Christian inspirational novels set in the Roman Empire. Francine went to the University of Nevada, Reno where she got her degree in Journalism and English, which kick-started her literary career. In the nine years between 1976 and 1985, she was very successful in her writing career as she got tons of accolades and awards. While she was brought up in a Christian family, her personal encounter with Christ happened when she was already an established romance author, wife, and mother of three. Shortly after receiving Christ, she wrote “Redeeming Love”, which was her first Christian Inspirational novel. The novel was a retelling of the story of Hosea and Gomer but now set in the Gold Rush of California. The novel is considered one of the best classical works of Christian fiction and was a bestseller for nearly ten years after its publication in 1991. Since the publication of her first Christian novel, she has gone on to publish more than twenty titles with Christian themes that have all gone on to win critical acclaim and achieve commercial success. Among her many awards include the prestigious RITA, the ECPA Gold Medallion, and the Christy Award. The New York Times bestselling author was inducted into the Romance Writers of America Hall of Fame in 1997. One of her most popular novel “The Last Sin Eater” was made into a feature-length film that was released in 2007 by Fox Faith. She currently lives with her husband in Northern California.

Mark of the Lion series is a travel back to the Roman Empire about forty years after the death of Jesus Christ. The lead of the novels is Hadassah, a young Jewish slave girl from Jerusalem. Hadassah’s family had been killed and she had been kidnapped from her native land and taken into slavery. It is a time of great upheaval and persecution of Christians. Hadassah is a Jew and given how much Jews are known for their dedication to their religion, for a time no one suspects her of being a Christian. Her Roman masters see her as a harmless woman given her plain look. But even as she is the obedient and humble servant of Julia, her inner beauty often draws in people to her. One of the people most drawn to her is Marcus Valarian, the twenty-something brother to her owner, who exhibits an air of confidence and attitude. He cannot help but be captivated by the pious Hadassah. The first two novels are about Hadassah’s struggle to share her faith in Jesus with other people and fighting the feelings of falling in love with Marcus. Her purity also lands her in hot water and she nearly dies when her mistress throws her into the arena to be mauled by lions. She miraculously survives and becomes bolder in her faith after her ordeal. The last novel of the series is the story of how Hadassah helps Atretes, a German warrior taken from his country and forced to become a gladiator. He is forced to fight in the arena and then kept caged and treated like an animal which fuels his hate for his captors. But his hate finally wins him his freedom and Hadassah helps him find his son and go back home to start a new life.

“A Voice in the Wind” the first novel of the Mark of the Lion series introduces Hadassah the Christian Jewish slave of the Roman Empire. The Romans had killed her whole family and then taken her to Rome where she is to be the handmaiden to a high born lady. The lady in question is the spoiled rotten teenage girl Julia, who has been forced to marry a much older man by her parents. Given her plain appearance, Julia dislikes Hadassah when she is given to her, though she comes to trust her over time. Hadassah is humble and faithful but is afraid of sharing her faith though her piety always shines through. Over the course of the story, she gains the courage to share her faith in Christ with other servants in the household. However, she now has bigger problems as she is falling for Marcus, the brother to the lady Julia. She fights the feelings believing them to be a temptation from Satan given that Marcus is known as a philanderer. Marcus is also falling in love with her and now she must make a choice between true love and a man she thinks will lead her away from God. Just as she is struggling to remain on her path, the challenges and difficulties are compounded until she is thrown into the arena to be torn apart by the lions. Throughout the novel, it is her faith in God that is continually evolving even as it is challenged. Nonetheless, it is the only thing that keeps her alive and gives her hope.

“An Echo in the Darkness” continues the story of Hadassah, who has enchanted Marcus Lucianus Valerian with her staunch faith in Christ and quiet beauty. Picking up from where the first novel left off, we learn that Hadassah did not die after all. She had been thrown to be killed by lions but despite being terribly disfigured she had survived. She had been taken by the Physician Alexander and now works as his assistant though she goes around covered head to toe in veils. Even as she sees patient after patient under Alexander, her faith grows stronger and she even tries to evangelize to her boss. She learns that her former boss Julia recently contracted an all-consuming illness and believes God wants her to go to Julia. She thinks she has to tell her of the love and salvation work of Jesus that can take away all her past transgressions and earn her eternal life. In the meantime, Marcus is bitter at the loss of Hadassah who he thinks is lost to him forever. He no longer speaks to Julia and Rome and all its pleasures have lost all meaning. To find Hadassah and the truth of God she preached he goes to all the places she ever stepped foot in. He does not find rest until one night when he is trying to drown himself he is rescued by a Christian who tells him the Good News of the gospel. He knows that his salvation lies in going back to Ephesus and forgiving Julia for leaving him, just as God had forgiven him.

“As Sure as the Dawn” the third novel of the Mark of the Lion series tells the story of Atretes, the German warrior taken from his homeland to become a gladiator. Hadassah has saved his son and placed him with Rizpah a Christian woman while he fought for his freedom in the arena. His need for revenge makes him a ferocious fighter that finally earns his freedom. But now he needs to find his son. The novel is about the search for his lost son that he finally finds with Rizpah. The three of them then travel back to Germania, where he begins a new life where he deals with tradition and family, friendship, love, loyalty and his new faith in Christ.

Book Series In Order » Characters » Mark of the Lion

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