The thunder was strange. Usually it came in off the lake they called Galilee. But on this Sabbath afternoon it rolled in from over the town. No matter, thinks ten-year-old Bartholomew. It's been a good day, with new friends and good trades made. Father is home with a good catch, and there's deer meat for dinner. No thunderstorm could ruin such a day!
But then Bartholomew discovers that the thunder does not come from the clouds, it comes from the hooves of horses -- Roman horses, carrying Roman soldiers. In minutes, Bartholomew's peaceful town is in chaos, his family is lost, and he himself is taken prisoner.
Bartholomew tumbles through the mixed-up days that follow, finding himself the property of a slave owner in Ceasarea. His treatment there is criminal, yet it is he who is sentenced to a terrible punishment -- a punishment which leads him to take desperate measures to escape. Cornered by Roman soldiers, all hope is lost for Bartholomew until a Fool jumps in to rescue him with wit and guile.
With the entire Roman Legion tracking them now, Bartholomew and his new friend make passage through a strange and wondrous land, full of strange and wondrous people. Eventually they find themselves the guests of a Persian wise man as his caravan camps along the road of a small town called Bethlehem. The events of that particular night will once again change Bartholomew's life forever -- in ways which he thought were impossible.
Softcover, 168 pages, with introductory notes, family devotionals, and ideas for celebrating Advent.