I am John I am Paul by Mark Tedesco
‘I am John I am Paul’ is a book set in ancient Rome in the time of Constantine and the Romans’ military exploits into Gaul. John and Paul are not only best friends, but also peerless warriors and leaders in their own rights. John finds himself sent away from his dearest friends on the whim of a tyrannical commander. He feels lonely and angry in Alexandria, attempting to follow the religion of Mithras, but at the same time increasingly empty and lost. By a pleasant turn of events, John finds himself back in Rome amongst his friends, but the battlefield beckons once again. For honour’s sake Paul and John risk their lives to save Constantine’s daughter captured by their enemy, Licinius. Their deeds see them greatly rewarded and they suddenly own a house and enough money to live on. At this time John and Paul are introduced to the ‘new faith’ of the Christians, and they begin to realize the beauty, simplicity, and truth of ‘The Way’. They leave behind their old religions, and stay true to their new belief, even suffering persecution for it.
The book is written in an easy, smooth-flowing manner, successfully describing the world of Ancient Rome. In addition there are several interesting notes and historical explanations that add to the reading experience.
I found parts of the book a bit tedious as the reader is told over and over of the deep friendship and love Paul and John have for each other. I felt that it was mentioned a bit often, and the theme became a little annoying instead of endearing. Conversations are short, and one never really manages to ‘get into’ a scene before it is over. There is not much progression in the story, or any exciting, unexpected twists in the plot.
Having said that, I enjoyed the tone of the author, and I think he did a fine job of researching and constructing his book. ‘I am John I am Paul’ is a pleasant, easy read, with a difficult ending that saddens and warms the heart.