Between ancient Rome and present day France lies The Sacrifice Stone


The Sacrifice Stone

By Elizabeth Harris

Endeavour Press

Mystery & Thrillers

Pub Date: December 24, 2015

Review

The Sacrifice Stone is an enthralling tale that alternates between 175 AD, when Arles was part of the Roman empire and the present day.

Although religion plays an important role within The Sacrifice Stone, this is not a religious novel per se. It is a story about discovering and acknowledging the truth, both about the past and the present. It is a reminder that what seems is not necessarily what is.

St Theodore is believed to be a child martyr, murdered by a Roman legionnaire for refusing to worship Roman gods. The truth, however, is revealed to Beth Leighton, a young woman accompanying her brother on his research trip to France and Adam, a filmmaker they meet while touring Arles. Beth and Adam are drawn together through their visions and their desire to uncover the truth about St. Theodore.

The daughter of a vicar, Beth is used to the misogyny of her father and her brother. To them, women are homemakers and secretaries, and have little purpose outside of this. Despite her background, Beth has confidence in her intellect and insight. Throughout the novel, there is a recurring theme about people perceiving what they want to, rather than what evidence shows. Unlike her brother, Beth looks at things empirically and considers the possibilities.

Elizabeth Harris excels at bringing Roman culture of the time to life. Sergius Cornelius Aurelius is a Roman citizen, an ex-legionnaire who has seen his share of death. The reader sees through his eyes, experiences his life, understands his motivations and concerns.

The descriptions of locations are simply breathtaking. Religion and tolerance are two topics deftly handled.

I was extremely impressed by Elizabeth Harris’s novel. The Sacrifice Stone is beautifully written, and the story is one that easily captures the imagination of the reader.

5/5

I received a copy of The Sacrifice Stone from the publisher and netgalley.com in exchange for an honest review.

—Crittermom

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Description

‘Enigmatic … the author really captures the imagination’ Sunday Independent

The present day: Beth Leighton arrives in the ancient Roman town of Arles with her brother, Joe, to investigate the story of a Christian child martyr, St Theodore.

Legend tells that a young boy was killed by a Roman officer on a moonlit night at the pagan temple of Mithras, a victim of sacrifice.

Arles, AD 175: Walking the same streets is Sergius Cornelius Aurelius, an ex-legionary and the officer accused.

Haunted by his past and by a perilous enemy which skulks in the shadows and will not show its face, he has his own story to tell.

At first Beth dismisses the tale and is irritated by Joe who consistently reminds her that she is only there to help him with his notes.

So why, then, does she feel a tangible, mysterious presence wherever she goes?

Joe doesn’t think she should get too involved and firmly believes that women are nothing more than cooks and secretaries.

Beth, determined to prove him wrong and full of confidence from a recent promotion back home, becomes increasingly involved.

Then she meets Adam, a film researcher, who is driven, inexplicably, to find the truth behind the legend.

As they explore the beautiful Provence countryside together, they are both moved and disturbed by the story of St Theodore.

A mystifying tale of love, honour and religion begins to unravel...

Soon their interest intensifies into obsession and dangerous emotions are unleashed as the ancient world, both magnificent and barbaric, becomes terrifyingly real ...

A miscarriage of justice has become legend and a force from the past is desperately trying to communicate the truth.

The Sacrifice Stone is a compelling roman mystery.

Praise for Elizabeth Harris

‘Enigmatic … the author really captures the imagination’ Sunday Independent

#December2015 #Rome #France #christianity

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