Ok, so according to our rating system, I would say that this book is "Highly Recommended". What is so great about Fabiola anyway? I really can't put my finger on it, except to say that it is a really powerful story about love, revenge, faith, treachery, friendship and sacrifice. Sounds pretty well rounded, doesn't it? Since this book is not very well known, I will give a bit of a background.
The story is set during the time of the Holy Roman Empire under the reign of Diocletian. The title character is a typical Roman noble woman; proud, selfish, vain, pagan and beautiful. The story tells not only of her pagan life before her slow conversion to Christianity, but also gives a thrilling account of the lives and martyrdoms of Sts. Sebastian, Cecilia, Agnes, Tarcisius, and so many others. The ending is truly triumphant and satisfying. I don't want to give away too much of the story, so I guess you will just have to read it to find out exactly what happens!!
Now for some critique!
Although this book has many real people as characters, several of the characters' actions are not historically correct. Several of the deaths happen differently than how they really occured. I found that the way the "deaths" were written suited the story perfectly, and I wouldn't change them at all. Also, there are no documents that state that the real people who are mentioned even knew each other, or lived within the same years. But who really wants to work out historical details anyway? If you are a history freak who would just go nuts because this isn't perfect, then maybe you shouldn't read it. Usually, I am seriously particular about history, but this did not seem to bother me. The storyline bounces back and forth between Fabiola and the other characters very well. All of the seperate plots are masterfully entertwined by the end of the story, and it will make you wish that there was a sequal! I just love how peacefully and lovingly the martyrs accept their fates. I wish I was that brave! In my opinion, this story has just the right amount of love, comedy, tragedy, and all out heroism. I think everybody should definitely give this book a try, even if ancient Rome is not your forte.
Everybody, please read this book and tell me what you thought!
~Lord Anthony Dewhurst