Pages & Paws

Writing, Reading, and Rural Life With a Border Collie

Why ‘DAWN’ Is as Fresh as This Morning’s Sunrise

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A Complete Account of the Most Important Day in Human History: Nisan 18, AD 30

By Mark Miller

Good Turn Publishing, 2023

Genre: Historical Fiction/Dramatized History

Via: Author Request

Note: We received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

It’s Friday. But Sunday’s comin’!

And what better way to mark it than with Mark Miller’s PAWsome new book, DAWN?

Here’s the short version of why:

Oceans of ink have been spilled about the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ. It’s not exactly a new topic. But there’s something in Mark Miller’s re-telling that’s as fresh and vibrant as this morning’s sunrise. As relevant as today’s headlines.

Here’s the longer version of why:

The Longer Version

Meticulously and thoroughly sourced, Dawn is true to the original Gospel accounts of the most important day in human history. It’s told in three parts: 1) Dawn – The Story. 2) The Unified Account. 3) Explanation of the Unified Account.

In Three Parts

Part two is the author’s “interpretation, compilation and translation of Scripture verses to create an integrated narrative of the events surrounding and including the resurrection.” It is thorough and compelling.

Part three includes the “details, reasoning, and sources behind the entire book… laid out in all their granularity. Despite the level of details,” writes Miller, “this part of the book contains too much interesting material to relegate it to an appendix. An Epilogue discusses why the resurrection matters to every individual and to Christians in particular.

But my favorite is Part one. Because:

Part One

Part one opens at Lazarus’ home in Bethany, just one hour before Jesus dies on the cross. It includes Passover. Pilate. The trials. Frightened disciples. A death sentence. Golgotha. The Praetorium. Romans. Caiaphas. Scoffers and believers. Barabbas. Sobbing women. The despair of the disciples who left everything to follow Jesus. And now their “everything” has perished. Without Jesus, they’re just a bunch of homeless, unemployed Galileans. So now what?

Think The Robe meets Ben Hur meets The Chosen

Mom’s favorite scene in all cinema, below. Throwin’ this in for free. From Ben Hur, 1959. (Record-breaking winner of 11 Oscars, including Best Picture, Director, Actor, Supporting Actor, and Score, this epic masterpiece stars Charlton Heston.)

Absorbing, Engaging

Credible dialogue as well as valuable insights into Jewish culture and customs buoy this ebullient story as ancient Jerusalem comes to life in this absorbing and engaging read.

Also nice to see backstories for Joanna, Susanna, and the Marys fleshed out and enhanced. A brief character sketch is included to help you keep track of everyone. It includes Jesus’ family, the disciples, other followers of Jesus, and the enemies of Jesus. Maps are also included so you can visualize where the story took place.

“You Are There”

You don’t feel like you’re reading a record of historical events in Dawn. You feel like you’re there. In the midst of a busy Passover. Caught in the clutches of confusion, grief, and fear. It’s like the narrative takes you by the hand and walks you through the old, old story with new eyes. Most books I get for review I read, review, and shelve. Not Dawn. It deserves another re-read. Like, tomorrow.  

Personal Note

On a personal note, I had just finished another book the day before Dawn arrived in the mail. The former was obtuse, difficult, and exhausting. I wasn’t particularly interested in another long read. (Dawn weighs in at 370 pages including Appendices and End Notes.) But I had already accepted the review request and felt duty-bound to honor it.

So I grabbed Dawn. Figured I’d just skim it. After chapter 2, however, something happened. Something I didn’t expect. I felt refreshed. Invigorated. Renewed.

I started Dawn in the morning. Next thing I knew, a sweet little furry face was reminding me it’s dinner time! As in, I couldn’t put it down!

Those familiar with the Gospel accounts of the most important day in human history will enjoy this vivid re-telling. Those who aren’t will enjoy superb writing, sparkling clarity, and a sense of joy and triumph that’s… incandescent.

We loved it!

Our Rating: 4.0

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