Former gladiator Atretes returns to Ephesus to reclaim the son he believed was dead. Caleb was given to Rizpah, a Christian woman, to raise.

Rizpah, won over by her new- found Christianity, still has problems with her stubborn disposition and bluntness. When she refuses to surrender the child to this heathen, she is reluctantly taken into Atretes' care.

However, old factions want Atretes back in the arena and he is forced to flee to Germany with Rizpah and Caleb. Despite Rizpah's difficulty in understanding Atretes' barbaric attitudes and irregardless of her growing attraction to him, her faith remains unshakable.

AS SURE AS THE DAWN details the angst of early Christians as they struggle to convert others. Francine Rivers puts readers right into the history of the moment and may remind us of the classic novel and film The Robe.

Though historically accurate, this novel is quite heavy on Bible quotes and proselytizing that seem to bombard the reader. Still, those who have begun Ms. Rivers' Mark of the Lion series will want to see more of Rizpah's uplifting story. SWEET (June, 448 pp., $11.95)

Reviewed by: 
Cyndie Dennis-Greer