Book Review: The Little Blog of Lucanus by Simon Ratsey

Updated April 17, 2018
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Book Review: The Little Blog of Lucanus by Simon Ratsey

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The Apostle Paul’s missionary journeys are vividly portrayed in this imagined yet fact-filled diary of Doctor Luke, the writer of the Book of Acts. Based on the Bible’s narrative and filled with cultural and historical background, Luke describes how it feels to travel by land and sea across the Roman Empire, bringing the Good News of Jesus to diverse communities, and experiencing the joy of seeing lives changed and the challenges of persecution and opposition.

Struggles with health and the relationships between the travellers, as well as Paul’s passion and determination to bring the message of Jesus to Rome, are powerfully portrayed in this easy-to-read yet highly informative fictional account.

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The Little Blog of Lucanus by Simon Ratsey
(Updated: April 17, 2018)
Overall rating 
Over the years many people have written various fictional works based on the New Testament. Recently I reviewed "Manacle" by Chris Aslan which did an excellent job of bringing the story to life and filling in the possibilities of what may have happened to the man known in the Bible as 'Legion'. The Little Blog of Lucanus is also a work of Biblical fiction, this one is written in a diary format and follows the journey's of Paul. It's possible that you may have guessed that Lucanus is actually better known as Luke, the writer of the third Gospel in the Bible as we have it today and the book of "The Acts of the Apostles". So this format allows the author to walk the reader through the incidents in the travels that are recorded in the book of Acts and allows Simon Ratsey to explore some of the incidents around the journey and allows Luke to reflect on those incidents.

For me, the book of Acts is one of the most exciting books in the New Testament, if not the whole Bible. It's certainly got a lot of action in it. From the pouring out of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, through to journeys, messages from God, councils and summits about what is required to follow Christ and, of course, those men that turned the world upside down with their message of hope and redemption through Christ. So there is a lot in this book which fills in details, many directly from Scripture but also there is a lot of extra that is not communicated in the Bible, because the writer makes certain assumptions about his readers and their knowledge of the world. Of course this blog helps fill in some personal gaps as well.

The book is written with attention to detail in mind, it has long been said that Luke noticed certain things that other gospel writers didn't because of his doctoral training. This is emphasised at times in this book and there is plenty about Paul having stomach problems and concerns for his health and his moods. This extra detail is interesting to the Bible scholar, but one would assume that a serious scholar would find out their information through the many other means of investigation, such as Bible commentaries and archaeological information about the time rather than this fictional blog. For the interested general reader some of these facts may well be of interest, however the inclusion of too many, plus the blog format leave this book feeling a little bit dry. For me it was hard going to read through each entry and it took me a lot longer to read this book than I expected.

I was genuinely looking forward to reading this book. There have been many great fictional novels about these people who influenced the Church and the spread and development of the faith in the early days. Unfortunately this book ends up feeling a little flat, dry and ultimately it lacks any personality. For me, the blog format simply didn't work, because although it was meant to give character and interest it failed to communicate that, and not just from it's writer, Luke, but also it really didn't give much to the surrounding characters either.

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