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Reviewed by Anne-Marie Reynolds for Readers' Favorite
The Gifts and the Fruits (The Freedom Series) (Volume 2) by Paul F. Murray is the long awaited sequel to Freedom’s Long March. Onesimus has been enslaved by Philomen. He meets Catia, another slave, and they get together to try to get the letters of St Paul the Apostle out of Rome and to safety. Their work brings them together in more ways than one and they develop a romantic interest in one another. First, they must complete their mission. They must fight their way past wildlife, pirates and persecutors and, once the Apostles are delivered safely, the message must be spread throughout Christianity. Catia and Onesimus have both converted to Christianity through the teachings of St Paul, but the real battle is holding on to their beliefs throughout times of trouble. Catia allows her wild nature to come to the fore as she and Onesimus fight for survival, not only their own but that of Christianity as well. Will they make it safely back home? Or will they be overcome and defeated at the very height of their mission?
I did not read the first book in the series but I wish I had. The Gifts and the Fruits by Paul F. Murray is a wonderfully involved story that I thoroughly enjoyed. It isn’t just about religion; it’s a tale of survival on a personal level as well. Paul has captured the fight for religious freedom perfectly in this book, telling not just a fictional story but also one that is all too common these days – the persecution of people for their religious beliefs. The plot itself unfolds very well, with something happening at every turn. The characters have been deeply written and that allows the reader the chance to get to know them well, and to fit them into the story. It is clear to me that a great deal of research has been put into this book and Paul has a real talent for drawing a reader’s attention and holding on to it. I would recommend this book for anyone to read, regardless of his or her religious beliefs, and I challenge anyone not to enjoy it.