An Echo in the Darkness by Francine Rivers is the second book in the Mark of the Lion trilogy by Francine Rivers. I absolutely LOVED the first book, A Voice in the Wind, but this one fell a little short for me. I’m going to give you the synopsis and then my thoughts. If you haven’t read the first book I would read that review before this one because this will have spoilers.
A prosperous trader, Marcus Lucianus Valerian has made a fortune providing sand and slaves for the Roman games. But Hadassah, a slave in his family’s household, has enchanted him with her quiet beauty and her staunch faith in Christ. When Marcus’ sister sends Hadassah to almost certain death in the games, Marcus feels that his life has been ripped apart. Now he is on his way to Jerusalem to find out more about Hadassah’s God, unaware that a miracle awaits him back in Rome.
The political intrigue of the imperial city provides a dramatic backdrop for Marcus’ spiritual quest.
My main issue with this book is that it was very tedious. What made the first book so entertaining was that it was told from a variety of perspectives. You had Hadassah, Marcus, Julia and a few of the other characters all telling their story from their point of view. This book did the same thing but on a much smaller scale. This was basically just Marcus and Hadassah. I frankly just got bored with both of them. Hadassah is very strong in her Christian faith, which is great, but any time a character is too perfect I start to lose interest. Everything she did and said was always right. She would be disrespectful to others because they would want to do something that didn’t align with her beliefs which I just didn’t feel matched the setting of the story. She was a slave in ancient Rome; I don’t think everybody would have fallen in love with a disrespectful servant and just disregarded her telling them what to do.
Marcus was in mourning for Hadassah through about 75% of the book because he thought she was dead. He went on a spiritual journey to find God and he does end up getting saved. All of this was fine but it just dragged on…and on…and on. To me, it was just incredibly boring and I actually found myself skimming over quite a bit of the parts which is not something I did in the first book.
I also really didn’t like that Julia had such a small part in the book. She was a horribly flawed character that made so many mistakes but that’s why I loved her. She ends up dying from an STD but she does get saved before she dies. Then Marcus and Hadassah live happily ever after and have like ten kids.
Often in trilogies the middle book will kind of lag. Marcus and Hadassah’s story ended with this book. I believe the next one picks up with a different character, Atretes, from the first book. I don’t think this was just a filler story, like some middle books are, but I do think it’s a much slower paced one than the first book. This one focuses heavily on the characters becoming born again Christians. As a Christian myself I’m fine with that message but I just wish it could have been portrayed in a more entertaining way.
I will have the review up for the last book in the trilogy, As Sure as the Dawn, next Monday. I’d love to have your feedback and thoughts on the books so far! Thanks for reading and have a great day!