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Reviewed by Cheryl E. Rodriguez for Readers' Favorite
The King James Men by Samantha Grosser is an eloquent piece of historical fiction. In 1604 a group of religious scholars is commissioned by the Church of England and the King to translate a new version of the Bible. Reverend Richard Kemp is honored to be a part of such an important task. Chosen for his expertise in Hebrew, Richard feels he has finally earned the respect he deserves among the Church’s elite. However, Richard is asked to do more than just translate; he is asked to spy on his once dear friend, Ben Kemp. Ben is known as a Separatist, thus deemed a traitor to the Church and England. The King wants unity; “One Church, one doctrine, one creed.” Richard’s duty and devotion to the Church and his loyalty to his friend are put to the test. As Richard searches for truth within the holy text, he discovers the hidden truth within his own heart.
Samantha Grosser pens a historical, yet fictitious story behind the translation of The King James' version of the Bible. The King James Men is a story of devotion and loyalty. The theme woven throughout the text is the privilege and the divine blessing of genuine friendship. The conflict emerges when this sacred friendship is weathered by storms of diversity and differing perspectives of life. The two main characters' friendship has been fiercely forged over time. As the narrative unfolds, their polarized beliefs hone and shape their respective characteristics. However, it is the buffering and influence of the antagonist that proves their self-worth and integrity. Intermingled between the beautiful descriptions is an in-depth understanding of history. Including the original language of scripture authenticated the time period. I thoroughly enjoyed reading The King James Men. I will never look at the King James' Version of the Bible in the same way again.