Jerusalem Imperilled

General Fiction, Mystery & Thrillers

By Harry Freedman

Publisher : Harry Freedman Books

ABOUT Harry Freedman

Harry Freedman
My books fall into three categories. There's the Yavneh Trilogy, of which, the first book, Jerusalem Imperilled, was published in November 2011. The trilogy is set in the middle of the 1st Century in the Roman province of Judea, the homeland of the Jews and birthplace of Jesus. The stor More...



Levi is a young priest in Roman occupied Jerusalem. A disgruntled guest at his wedding to Nechama informs the Roman procurator that the bride’s wealthy father is plotting a rebellion. Levi and Nechama are taken captive and sent in chains to Rome.

Whilst working as slave in the Roman dockyards, Levi hears reports of turmoil in his homeland. The hated procurator is enriching himself at the peoples’ expense, revolutionary bands are attacking the Romans but the local political leaders are too busy fighting amongst themselves to coordinate the resistance.

In the dockyards a mysterious visitor tries to recruit Levi to report on the Roman troop movements. He is in a unique position to help the resistance. But all he can think of is how to find his lost bride, the love of his life.

Jerusalem Imperilled is Book One in the Yavneh Trilogy

The year is 66 AD. Jerusalem is in the grip of the corrupt, venal Procurator, Gessius Florus. The city is torn between political, religious and revolutionary groups struggling for dominance. The Procurator's iron grip overshadows all. Tensions in the city are inflamed by Meir ben-Batiach, a giant of a young man who dreams of freeing his country from the occupiers' rule. His uncle, Yohanan Ben Zakkai, a highly respected rabbi seeks a negotiated peace. Uncle and nephew, statesman and revolutionary are thrown together in an unlikely alliance. A wealthy merchant marries his daughter, Nechama, to Levi, the son of a priest. At the wedding party the merchant humiliates a long standing enemy who takes his revenge by laying trumped up charges with the Procurator. The newlyweds are taken captive, separated from each other, sold into slavery and shipped to Rome. From his vantage point as a trusted slave in the port of Ostia, where the boats from Judea dock, Levi chronicles the conflicts, conspiracies and intrigues that threaten to overwhelm his homeland. All the while seeking to find his lost wife and his way home.

 An engaging story!, December 19, 2011
This review is from: Jerusalem Imperilled (The Yavneh Trilogy) (Kindle Edition)
"Jerusalem Imperilled" takes you back to Jerusalem circa 67 A.D., in Roman-occupied Judea. As stated in the book's description, the story is told by Levi, a young man sold into slavery shortly after his wedding day. He ends up in Rome, penning his story as he hears it from slaves and others who come ashore at the dock he oversees.

I've not been a big fan of historical fiction but I decided recently I need to broaden my interests. I'm glad I did; Jerusalem Imperilled is a fascinating and engaging read. And it's cleverly written. As a writer, I'm impressed with Freedman's work.

I tend to favor books with a lot of action and Jerusalem Imperilled is loaded with action: a successful assault on the impenetrable Masada; hand-to-hand combat on the streets of Jerusalem; a daring broad daylight rescue of a boy cruelly condemned to lose his only good eye; a siege; and middle-of-the-night conspiratorial meetings.

I don't like holes in a plot big enough to drive a truck through; things have to make sense. I would suppose with historical fiction an author must be given some creative license, especially when the book is set in a time with little reliable historical records. The plot of Jerusalem Imperilled is solid. Having studied the Old and New Testaments, a knew a little about Jewish life from that time and everything jived with my study.

Whether or not a book is good depends on its ability to hold the reader's interest and attention. I stopped reading at least ten books in 2011 because they were either poorly written, horribly edited, or just plain boring. I looked forward to picking up my iPad when reading Jerusalem Imperilled. As a writer, there is no higher compliment. It's a nice long satisfying read.

I highly recommend Jerusalem Imperilled