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The Thief: A Novel (The Living Water Series) Paperback – February 25, 2014

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Nissa's tough demeanor as a cover for her fear and Longinus' desire for a life of peace in his mother's homeland of Gaul are achingly believable. Both characters are truly lost souls brought together by Jesus' act of mercy. Their discovery, through Him, that mercy is the true power that leads to peace is a reassurance Christian readers can appreciate." —Romantic Times, 4.5 stars (Romantic Times, 4.5 stars)

“Filled with memorable characters, The Thief is a tale of hopelessness turned to hope, of high stakes made higher, and ultimate love. What happens when a character at the lowest rung of society crosses paths with the most well-known figure in history? The story of The Thief. I couldn't stop reading.” —Tosca Lee, New York Times bestselling author of Iscariot (Tosca Lee, New York Times bestselling author of Iscariot)

“WOW! LOVE IT!!! I started reading on my way home from a conference and was so engrossed in the book I almost missed the flight! The Thief stole my heart and lifted my spirit. Masterfully told, this story of a Roman centurion and a Jewish girl explores familiar New Testament passages but plumbs new spiritual depths. A powerful message of faith and hope intersecting at the foot of the cross.” —Mesu Andrews, author of In a Broken Vessel (Mesu Andrews, author of In a Broken Vessel)

“You know the feeling you get looking at a mountain sunset, listening to sacred music while James Earl Jones reads the Sermon on the Mount? The Thief captures that emotion in an unforgettable story of desperation and beauty.” —Regina Jennings, author of Caught in the Middle and Sixty Acres and a Bride (Regina Jennings, author of Caught in the Middle and Sixty Acres and a Bride)

“A compelling story and vivid characters immediately come off the page and into your heart as Stephanie Landsem brings ancient Jerusalem to life in her enthralling second novel, The Thief. As you run through the streets with the little thief, Mouse, or dip in the Pool of Siloam with the secretive Nissa, a masterful tale full of adventure, heartbreak, and hope unfolds. A must-read for anyone who loves a good book they simply can’t put down.” —Laura Sobiech, author of Fly a Little Higher (Laura Sobiech, author of Fly a Little Higher)

"To read The Thief is to be completely transported to another time and place. Landsem’s impeccably researched novel moves at breakneck speed toward a climax that doesn’t disappoint." —Rebecca Kanner, author of Sinners and the Sea (Rebecca Kanner, author of Sinners and the Sea)

"Powerful and moving, Landsem grabs hold of the soul and never lets go. As compelling a portrait of mercy as I have ever read. Don't miss this one!" —Siri Mitchell, author of The Messenger (Siri Mitchell, author of The Messenger)

About the Author

Stephanie Landsem writes historical fiction because she loves adventure in far-off times and places. In real life, she’s explored ancient ruins, medieval castles, and majestic cathedrals around the world. Stephanie is equally happy at home in Minnesota with her husband, four children, and three fat cats. When she’s not writing, she’s feeding the ravenous horde, avoiding housework, and dreaming about her next adventure—whether it be in person or on the page.

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Product Details

  • Series: The Living Water Series
  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Howard Books (February 25, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1451689101
  • ISBN-13: 978-1451689105
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (113 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #93,133 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Stephanie Landsem writes historical fiction because she loves adventure in far-off times and places. In real life, she's explored ancient ruins, medieval castles, and majestic cathedrals around the world. Stephanie is equally happy at home in Minnesota with her husband, four children, and three fat cats. When she's not writing, she's feeding the ravenous horde, avoiding housework, and dreaming about her next adventure - whether it be in person or on the page.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Avid Reviewer TOP 500 REVIEWER on February 25, 2014
Format: Paperback
The Thief by Stephanie Landsem is the second book in The Living Water Series which is compelling, entertaining and immensely enjoyable. It is an epic tale of faith and hope, a story of love and mercy which captures the filth of sinfulness and the beauty of forgiveness. Stephanie weaves a magnificent sweeping novel which is unforgettable, compelling, emotionally poignant and simply irresistible.

In The Thief, Stephanie Landsem masterfully crafted a colossal yet tender story which brings ancient Jerusalem to life in all its mystery, beauty and splendor. It is told from two points of view and one is that of a familiar character: the red-haired Roman, Longinus. It is about a Roman centurion looking for peace and a Jewish woman hiding a terrible secret. When a miracle at the pool of Siloam brings them together, her secret will keep them apart and ultimately lead them both to the foot of a cross on Calvary. The Thief is a life-changing story of forgiveness and love.

The redemptive theme of the story is manifested in almost all the characters. As Stephanie Landsem spins a remarkable story of God's love in this historical novel, you are left in awe and admiration at the stunning way in which she portrayed her characters and take you deep inside their hearts. You will get to meet adorable characters which will endear to your heart, and learn from them as they come face to face with life and truth. Roman centurion Longinus, young Jewish spinster Nissa, Nissa's blind brother Cedron all have important lessons to teach if one is willing to learn. Above all, you will witness a miracle-performing God relentlessly working in the affairs of men.

Stephanie Landsem's impeccably crafted and well-researched novel gallops at a speed that keeps you fixated as the story reaches its staggering and eventful conclusion. The Thief is an unforgettable work of fiction based on actual events in history, one that will resonate deep within you long after you finish it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Amber Stokes on March 7, 2014
Format: Paperback
Landsem won me over in the first couple of chapters with the depth of characterization, the wonderful setting, and the early surprises. The Thief includes a powerful blend of action/suspense, emotion, historical details, biblical references, and romance. I loved that it was not only a well-written read, but an engaging one throughout.

I had the opportunity to go to Israel when I was fifteen, and I enjoyed picturing some of the sights again through this story. Interestingly enough, the author notes that she's never been there (yet!) - but let me tell you, her descriptions and imagery are great! While I can see how Morocco inspired her (not that I've been there, but her note about the marketplaces seems fitting), Landsem obviously did her research regarding the layout of Jerusalem and the cultural elements of Jesus's day. I loved her take on the setting and found myself easily swept away to the first century.

I'm sure that was also due to the characters. Such "tangled webs" Nissa weaves...and such trouble they all find themselves in. The characters came across as very authentic - and even if that meant I got frustrated with Longinus (and others) often, it also meant I loved him all the more when he showed different sides to himself and grew. The secondary characters - especially Dismas and Cedron - also impressed me, but I do admit, being the romantic that I am, that Longinus and Nissa's relationship held my attention. Their uniqueness (in both looks and attitudes), stubbornness, and tenderness endeared me to them.

My one wish might be that the reader could see a little more of Jesus - a little more of his interactions with the other characters, a little more involvement early on, or something.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Kate on March 4, 2014
Format: Paperback
What a powerful story The Thief, by Stephanie Landsem, was. My goodness, it was hard to put this book down. There were so many dynamics to this story that made this story come alive in my mind. The characters are solidly created, the way of life is fantastically researched, and it brings such an important time of the beginning of Christianity back to center stage, but offers it from a whole new perspective.

When Jesus was crucified on the cross, two others were there beside him, this story focuses on the thief's and how they came to be on their own crosses that day and how their close proximity with Jesus that day affected those around them.

Nissa has grown up in a poor area of Jerusalem. Her father only likes to play dice and squander what ever money the family can come by, her mother only cares for wine, and in these trials, Nissa does her best to care for her blind brother, Cedron. Nissa has tried her best to harden her heart to the brutality she has faced, she is tough girl who does her best, but is berated for her sharp tongue and harassed by others in her community since she has not been married. Nissa fights an internal battle throughout the story. It's one many people can relate to. It's the same argument that can run through anyone's mind, "You don't have a choice, it's the only way." "No one will like me for who I am, I will just do it one more time and I will quit."

You want to root for Nissa and you hope that she can over come.

Longinus is an outcast in many ways. He is Roman, so the Jewish people despise him. However, he is not Roman enough for his superiors. His father was Roman and his mother was from Gaul. The only thing that has kept him going and in good standing is his pursuit of a friend's killer.
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