The Bronze Door

The Cyrenian Trilogy Book II

Fiction - Historical - Event/Era
396 Pages
Reviewed on 06/30/2024
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    Book Review

Reviewed by K.C. Finn for Readers' Favorite

The Bronze Door is a work of fiction in the historical fiction, adventure, and faith genres. Penned by author Karin Ciholas, this immersive novel is set during a tumultuous ancient historical period when it required great courage to defy tyranny. Simon, dedicated to justice for his fellow Jews, is challenged when his wife Aurelia and sons embrace Christianity. As Caligula seeks revenge for Simon's past defiance, he appoints Aurelia's brother Valerius as governor of Syria and orders him to lead legions to Jerusalem to erect Caligula's statue in the temple. Valerius faces an agonizing choice: obey and cause a massacre of Jews or disobey and risk his family’s death. His love for Rachel, Simon’s sister, gives him strength in this dramatic tale of courage, faith, and love. Ciholas uses a wealth of research and a sense of detail in crafting this deeply immersive and emotionally charged read.

The historical setting, filled with tension and turmoil, vividly brought to life the struggle between cruelty and humanity in much more brutal, ancient times, and I loved the atmospheric language that evoked all kinds of dangerous situations. Simon’s unwavering dedication to justice amidst his personal turmoil was inspiring and heart-wrenching, and he was characterized by some intimate dialogue that really showed his heart on his sleeve when he suffered the most. The conflict between his commitment to his faith and the new Christian beliefs embraced by his family sits firmly at the center of the novel. I also thought that Valerius’s dilemma was particularly poignant, highlighting the extreme sacrifices and moral quandaries faced by individuals with very different attitudes during such dark times. The blend of historical detail and human emotion kept me engaged throughout, and the morals underpinning the exciting plot encourage reflection on the nature of courage, faith, and love. Overall, The Bronze Door by Karin Ciholas is a powerful and thought-provoking read that I’d certainly recommend to historical fiction fans everywhere.