This product review is for The Captives by Emma Leslie. This book is a work of historical fiction, set in ancient Britain, during the time when the Romans have just begun to dominate the great island. The main characters are Jugurtha, son of a tribal chief in Britain, and Norma, Jugurtha's younger sister.
The book opens with Marcinius, a Christian Roman soldier, indoctrinating Jugurtha on the love of God. Jugurtha, having only worshiped the cruel forest spirits of Britain, mocks the Roman centurion, saying he, Jugurtha, has no need for such a weak Deity.
Meanwhile, the chief Druids hold a secret council to give Guntra, Jugurtha's mother, a horrifying ultimatum. Either her son will be sacrificed to the forest spirits, or he will lead the armies of Britain in a suicide attack on the Romans, and his sister, Norma, will be sacrificed instead. In an attempt to save both her children's lives, she orders Jugurtha to escape from the village, taking Norma with him. Jugurtha succeeds, only to be captured and enslaved by the Romans.
While there, Jugurtha meets Marcinius, the Roman Centurion again, who then buys Jugurtha from the Romans that originally captured him. While with Marcinius, Jugurtha and Norma learn to leave the cold, uncaring gods of the Britons, and to accept Christ, the God of love.
The Captives is a captivating story about Christ showing His love to a sinner, who had always believed in the horrendous practices of druidism. This well-written book can be enjoyed by anyone aged 12 and older. The
Captives is especially helpful for advancing a child's vocabulary, because there are definitions provided for the higher grade level words in the footnotes. This book is among the best historical fiction I have had the pleasure of reading, and I would highly recommend it.