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Flames of Rome [Kindle Edition]

Paul L. Maier
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (101 customer reviews)

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Book Description

A madman who murders his way into power lusts for ever-greater glory and domination. A capital city awash with corruption, sensuality, and political intrigue is at the flash point. And caught between the crushing currents of history are a new but growing religious group known as the followers of The Way. Award-winning historian and best-selling author Paul L. Maier has created a compelling style of documentary fiction, using only known historical events and persons to bring to life first-century Rome in all its excess, treachery, and insanity. This is the Rome that the apostle Paul visits, where he’s placed on trial, and which is forever changed by his testimony and witness. Maier takes readers into the courtroom of imperial justice and into the homes of the people struggling with the new faith they’ve encountered to answers questions such as: How did Christianity first reach Rome? Why did Paul have to wait two years for trial and was he condemned or set free? Why does the New Testament account in Acts end so abruptly? Who set fire to Rome and why did Nero persecute Christians so horribly? Following the the family of Flavius Sabinus, mayor of Rome under Nero Maier captures all the drama and tension of the political conflicts that precede and follow the Great Fire of Rome, and the epic political and religious clashes of the world’s capital. This is the sensational story of pagans at their worst—and Christians at their best. Readers won’t want to put it down.

Editorial Reviews


A spectacular work of history and a sweeping story. (Christian Observer 2004-06-03)

A splendid work. . . objective, interesting, and thought provoking. (Norman Vincent Peale 2004-06-03)

Different religious persuasions will enjoy this unique book. The approach is reverent and not debunking. (Los Angeles Times 2004-06-03)

Fact-filled, interesting, and successful. . . splendid research. This book is beautiful. (Christian Century 2004-06-03)

Fascinating. . . brings a new perspective to a story we have known all our lives. (Redbook 2004-06-03)

For the supremely pivotal event of the Resurrection, Paul Maier's book lends fresh and scholarly support. (Billy Graham 2004-06-03)

In The Flames of Rome, Paul Maier has accomplished a tremendously challenging project, and he has done so with wonderful clarity and accuracy. (Christian Library Journal 2004-06-03)

The author is at home in the vast literature of his subject. (New York Times Book Review 2004-06-03)

Tremendously worthwhile. . . intensely enlightening and interesting. . . a wonderful book. (Christian Herald 2004-06-03)

Vivid style and keen insights make this book a delight and a genuine educational experience. --(Moody Magazine 2004-06-03)

About the Author

Paul L. Maier is the former Russell H. Seibert Professor of Ancient History (retired) at Western Michigan University and an award-winning author whose expertise in first-century studies and extensive travels in the Middle East and Asia Minor provide historical authenticity and compelling drama to his writing. His other writings include the ECPA Gold Medallion Award-winning volume Josephus: The Essential Writings, as well as The Flames of Rome, and the best-selling novel, A Skeleton in God’s Closet.

Product Details

  • File Size: 1259 KB
  • Print Length: 456 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0825443547
  • Publisher: Kregel Publications; 3 edition (March 12, 2014)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00IYSMY18
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #208,231 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
50 of 53 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Maier brings history alive September 4, 2002
This is the second documentary novel by Dr. Maier (see Pontius Pilate) and is a great introduction to the complex history of the period ruled by Claudius and Nero. Maier takes the primary source material and crafts it into a novel which nontheless stays as true to history as is capable.
I learned much more about the background to the New Testament Church from this book than I did with many seminary bible classes. Dr. Maier actually footnotes many key elements of his novel, and the footnotes will lead you into the tangle of primary sources without getting too lost.
If you want to understand what Paul and the early Church were up against, by all means pick up this book.
4 stars (not 5) due to some slighlty juvenile romance between some of the main characters that takes a little pleasure out of the experience.
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29 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Maier Is A Master Storyteller October 5, 2000
By mjanke
From the author of A Skeleton In God's Closet. Outstanding historical fiction, telling the story of Nero's rise to power as emperor of Rome, why he "went bad," and climaxing in the infamous burning of Rome that was blamed on the Christians. This book takes a plethora of historical research, uses that as its foundation, and fills in the blanks with some fine speculation and character enhancement by Maier. It makes history come alive, with vivid brush strokes. This is a definate hidden gem, and one that anyone interested in this era will want to search out.
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26 of 27 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Historical Fiction of Ancient Rome May 27, 1998
By A Customer
Along w/ historical notes by a well-respected historian, Flames of Rome offers an interesting and attention-capturing account of Nero's persection of the Christians in 65 AD. Characters are well developed and believable. If you like historical fiction, that is heavy on the history and less on the fiction, this is the book for you.
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful and moving book. May 17, 1999
By A Customer
One of my favorite books! The story is incredibly moving and inspirational. Strengthened my faith to see the faith of these martyrs in action. The heavy historical documentation only caused me to honor these Christian heroes even more and hope to live my life similarly. Strongly recommend this book!
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars More history than fiction June 27, 2000
The subtitle, "A Documentary Novel," is accurate. The author's novel (pun intended) approach to writing this book was to use only historical personages, and to take no literary license. Fiction there is, but no historical fact is contradicted, and the fill-in fictionalizing is done on the most probabalistic lines. This genre of work is just a few degrees removed from that of Edmund Morris' "Dutch," the Reagan bio into which the author inserted himself as a ficticious person. The detailed notes appended to the story validate the scope and many of the details of the plot. The minute research and command of all surviving historical works from the period, down to unpublished inscriptions found on ruins across the breadth of the Roman Empire, mark the author as among the most deeply versed Classicists alive. As literature, the book's readable and fast-paced plot does not rise to the level of "Quo Vadis?" or "Ben Hur," but easily compares with "The Robe." A stimulating and enjoyable read - all the more facinating because all of the named characters are authentically historical. -Lloyd A. Conway
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Historically accurate novelization of actual events October 23, 2004
Accounts of the early Christians in ancient Rome sometimes portray all Roman characters as evil, cruel and greedy. Maier provides a more nuanced understanding of the sitatution through his sympathetic portrayal of Flavius Sabinus, a Roman administrator (not himself a Christian) who acts as as an advocate and protector when the wife of a friend is placed in jeopardy because of her religious beliefs. The story generates suspense even though the major culminating events (the burning of Rome and the subsequent execution of Christians by Nero) are well known. This novel was much, much better than I expected based on the title, the cover art, and the commentary on the cover. There was nothing preachy in the narration of the story. Historical fiction readers who do not generally read "Christian fiction" will find that this well researched novel provides a plausible look at life in first century Rome. Through the character of Flavius Sabinus, Maier showed that there were at least a few individual Romans who were horrified, rather than entertained, by Nero's execution of Christians.
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76 of 98 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Parents Beware February 25, 2007
Other reviewers have already detailed all the great points of this book, so I won't repeat them, but I would like to give a warning. I purchased this book as part of the Sonlight curriculum for my 16 and 14 year old kids. I decided to read it myself first and then decided not to have them read it. I just wouldn't recommend it for teenagers due to the fairly graphic sexual information contained in it. I'm not opposed to telling the truth about a society, but I think there are limits to how many details the reader needs to know to understand the facts.

Here are a few of the details that concerned me:

a woman leaving claw marks across a man's chest when he refuses her sexual advances

falling into each other's arms, kissing and embracing with an intensity that astonished them

being "inflamed" by a kiss

empress removing her clothing in front of a Senator, with the description that she had a supple figure

thirteen year old youth hiding in the bathhouse watching young naked girls

This was just a little too much information for me to recommend it to teenagers. I wouldn't have a problem recommending it for an adult.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Very interesting start to finish.
Published 18 days ago by Andrew Wafula
5.0 out of 5 stars Insightful, historical fiction.
Paul Maier does a wonderful job with ancient history, making it come to life.
Published 25 days ago by Catherine H.
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting review of Nero's mental illness and his excesses.
I enjoyed the fact that the author tried carefully to stick to facts while providing a page turner because we all know what became of Nero.
Published 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars How to make history interesting
Very interesting read. If they used books like this in school I think that the students would be a lot more engaged with the subject matter. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Paul A Jongedyk
4.0 out of 5 stars A more than pleasant surprise
I am a huge fan of historical fiction, but also a great respecter of history. Maier has intertwined the two in a remarkable manner.
Published 1 month ago by Walter Neilson
5.0 out of 5 stars Verefiable history and fiction which fills in the gaps and makes it...
Everything I want in historical fiction. Verefiable history and fiction which fills in the gaps and makes it easy to read. This has it all.
Published 2 months ago by Diana Harkness
4.0 out of 5 stars Flames of Rome
Many times I have heard "What is this world coming to?" Or some derogatory remark about the next generation. Read more
Published 2 months ago by sdsjws
4.0 out of 5 stars Well written
The weaving of known historical events with possible happenings provides a wonderful tale. The characters are believable and likeable as well as realistic.
Published 2 months ago by too many books/not enough time
5.0 out of 5 stars Very Interesting Book
This book appears to have been well researched. It was very readable and if you have had no or little previous knowledge of Rome and Nero, then I believe you will find this book... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Half Runner
5.0 out of 5 stars Felt like I got a great overview of that time period ...
Felt like I got a great overview of that time period and how and why certain things happened. Enjoyable story line.
Published 2 months ago by Amazon Customer
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