Author: Theodore Judson
Publisher: Edge Science Fiction and Fantasy, 2010
Source: Amazon.com purchase
Rating: 4.5 (see “Reviews” page for explanation of rating system)
Sexy rating: 1
Description from Amazon.com:
Maternus, a brute of a Roman soldier who has spent the past eighteen centuries in hell, wants freedom.
Upon reviewing his misplaced records, the bureaucracy that governs the universe has decided that Maternus deserves a second chance at redemption because the brutal soldier also was capable of offering friendship, of appreciating beauty, and even of loving a virtuous woman.
A demon and an angel must take him back to earth, where human passions, virtues and failings have been downsized, and there Maternus, this lion of a man, must pass a series of tests before he can earn a place in paradise with a girl he saw only once but who is nonetheless the focus of his existence.
I read a review of this book online at Patricia’s Vampire Notes and just had to read it for myself. Judson gets everything right in this telling of an ancient trying to reclaim his soul so he can spend forever with the woman he loves. Needing to pass three tests Roman warrior, Maternus is set down in modern times and expected to adapt. He does and we get to enjoy his fumbling and insights while he quests for answers. This is a modern day Pilgrim’s Progress, an allegory for today and perhaps a parable. There is a message but we are not beaten over the head with it. It is an uplifting book.
I think the most fun for me was seeing the 21st century through the eyes of a man who lived 1800 years ago.
The romance is chaste and is the driving theme behind Maternus’ quest for Heaven.
(This book is no longer available at Amazon except from secondary providers. It is available from Barnes and Noble.)