Jerusalem's Brothers

Second in The Brothers Series

Young Adult - Adventure
210 Pages
Reviewed on 01/03/2024
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by K.C. Finn for Readers' Favorite

Jerusalem's Brothers is a work of fiction penned by author Ronald Hera in the Christian fiction, historical adventure, and coming-of-age subgenres. The second novel in the Brothers Series, this work is suitable for mature teen and adult readers alike. This emotive and intricately penned novel delves into the challenges faced by early Christians in Jerusalem. Fleeing persecution from both the Roman occupation and Jewish opposition, followers of The Way find themselves uprooted, losing their homes and families. The novel weaves historical accuracy with a gripping narrative, capturing the struggles and deceptions of the time. The plight of the two titular brothers, followers of Jesus Christ, unfolds against a backdrop of persecution.

Author Ronald Hera has crafted a work that inspires in its readers a strong fascination with the historical backdrop and immersion in the lives of the characters. Hera's deep knowledge of the historical context shines through, creating a vivid and authentic portrayal of first-century Palestine with atmospheric touches and an authentic sense of culture and attitude. While the story is rich in historical detail, the characters take a bold step into the spotlight, too, thanks to the close attention paid to dialogue and emotional narration. Every action has powerful consequences in this tumultuous time of persecution and perdition, and the sense of urgency and pressure builds well with each new twist in the tale. The novel effectively captures the struggles and triumphs of early Christians, leaving me eager to follow the journey of the next installment. Overall, I would not hesitate to recommend Jerusalem's Brothers to fans of Christian historical fiction everywhere for its deeply immersive and engaging style.

Edith Wairimu

In the inspiring and moving historical work, Jerusalem's Brothers: Second in The Brothers Series, Ronald Hera transports readers back to the beginning of the first Church. Despite heavy persecution and uncertainty, the disciples refuse to give up their faith and are determined to spread the good news. Before his accession, Jesus told his disciples to wait in Jerusalem for the gift that was to come from the Father. Though they are concerned about the growing persecution of followers of Jesus, they decide to wait. Emboldened by the Holy Spirit, they preach the Gospel without fear. Some are forced to flee when the disciples face pressure from Jewish religious rulers and Roman authorities. They become victims of political power plays and lose loved ones and their livelihoods. Still, many become converts, and the good news spreads.

Through its brave, remarkable characters, the story offers insight into the crushing circumstances the early disciples faced and highlights their extraordinary faith. I was inspired by the characters’ steadfastness and their resilience as they endured persecution that forced them to leave their homes. Though they faced many hardships, there were many joyous moments in the story that I found encouraging. I loved how Paul’s story was brought to life and found the story’s background vivid and masterfully developed. Driven by outstanding, unforgettable characters, Jerusalem's Brothers by Ronald Hera is an invaluable young adult story with timely themes and inspiring lessons. It is an important work and a must-read for every believer.

Asher Syed

Ronald Hera's historical Christian novel Jerusalem's Brothers is set amidst the turmoil of religious fervor and political unrest, where followers of “the Way” risk everything in preaching Jesus as the Messiah. Miraculous events, like the disciples speaking in multiple languages, strengthen their bold proclamations, with Enoch among the most vocal. Meanwhile, temple priest Nadab seeks to control, and as the persecution rises, many believers consider relocation. This ratchets up when Peter and John are arrested, witnessed by Simeon, Rachel, and Anthony. As Nadab strategizes against the followers, a plot unfolds to suppress their influence. Parallel narratives show Anthony's curiosity about Jesus' teachings conflicting with his loyalty to Rome, while Marcus and Octavian notice a halt in religious debates. Hera marks the progression of the storyline with notable ancient refugees, divine encounters, transformation, influence, and opposition from a multitude of perspectives.

Jerusalem's Brothers is the second book in The Brothers series by Ronald Hera, preceded by book one, Bethlehem's Brothers. In the interests of full disclosure, I am not a Christian and read the book purely for entertainment. As straight historical fiction, it does do the trick. The occasional bouts of preaching are to be expected, particularly as members of the Way spread 'the good news,' but it is not heavy-handed in a broader context. There are a few standout features that I enjoyed. The first is that Hera cracks on exceptionally well with authentic period details about the time of the Roman Empire and does so with the restraint of a seasoned writer. He does not throw in elements for the sake of educating the reader and instead keeps the plot barrelling forward. The second is the turning points that follow the death of Mary and the different ways this is navigated depending on the character. Also, there is a brutal attack on a beloved couple that pierced me straight through, a testament to Hera's strength in connecting readers emotionally. Overall, this is an ambitious tale that Hera manages well, and I look forward to reading more. Recommended.

Pikasho Deka

Jerusalem's Brothers is the second installment of The Brothers Series by Ronald Hera. The book tells the story of some of the early followers of Christianity and recounts their struggles living under the cruel regime of the Roman Empire and the hostile local inhabitants of Jerusalem. Simeon used to be the best potter in the city. But after Jesus' crucifixion and following resurrection, his life turned upside down, forcing him to leave Jerusalem for Damascus with Rachel and their adopted son, Jacob. Along the way, they help a young girl named Julia get her life back on track. Meanwhile, Nadab, a member of the Sanhedrin, schemes to stop the followers of "The Way," helped by the ruthless edict of Marcellus. But he gets his comeuppance after an affair with Centurian Octavian's wife, Erina.

Jerusalem's Brothers is a story about faith and resilience against religious persecution. Ronald Hera captures the era and political ramifications following Jesus's resurrection with a powerful narrative that captivates you from beginning to end. The cast of characters is quite large, but Hera immerses the reader in the lives of every single individual featured in this book. This is a moving account of the spread of Christianity in its nascent days, and the book brilliantly showcases the trials, tribulations, and persecutions early Christians faced in their attempts to preach and follow Jesus' teachings. I found myself particularly invested in the plot threads involving Simeon, Jacob, Marcus, and Anthony. This is the perfect book for Christian readers, historical fiction enthusiasts, and theologists alike.

Constance Stadler

Jerusalem’s Brothers by Ronald Hera is both a labyrinth and a path. Giving vivid dimension to the words of the New Testament, the book centers on the purpose and mission of the first followers of Christ, facing constant threats when told to preach and teach the meaning of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection. Ancient history comes alive and the narrative is both personal and encompassing. Stories of conversion are convincingly detailed, such as the impact of the manifestation of the Holy Spirit. One of its most notable effects was the change evoked in Saul, the Jewish Pharisee intent on destroying Christianity, to becoming an apostle who converted countless numbers. This is as fascinating as it is engaging. The religious differences and interplay between Jewish factions with different notions about what parts of the Old Testament were valid is a story in and of itself. These often contradictory interpretations reveal significantly different views about status, legitimacy, and hostility. The need for Roman alliances to persecute believers or look the other way is a common thread. How surreptitious Christian gatherings nurtured the bravery of disciples to speak out in Jerusalem's temples - the most dangerous arena of all – is spellbinding. The perils of accepting transformative missions and the plots to eliminate them are at the forefront.

The creation of multifaceted characters also makes Jerusalem’s Brothers stand out. The depiction of a Roman officer, who struggles with understanding the sense of guilt and a growing awareness of a different way of being, is one of many believable portraits. One character’s machinations to gain power within his faction serve to convey motivation driven by theological differences and self-interest. The fact that Ronald Hera creates women such as Rachael, the devout potter’s wife, Hannah, whose growing passion makes faith absolute and malleable, and the changes in the foundling, Julia, are essential to understanding the dynamics of mobilization. This macro-micro emphasis is a primary reason the book is continuously compelling. The crisp and clean writing allows the reader to immerse themselves. Not only is the dialog textured, but the nuances of doctrine and personalities are deftly conveyed. The secular tone facilitates a deeper level of comprehension about what it meant to stay fast to conviction in a time of great oppression. Jerusalem’s Brothers would strongly appeal to those with biblical familiarity and who enjoy adventures infused with motivation and cause. The book weaves myriad tales in a way that will compel many to read it in one sitting and start over because of the richness of presentation and how it breathes life into words born millennia ago.