Jewel of the Nile
AD 56. Chariline has always been told that her father, the man who spoiled her late Roman mother, is dead. With her morose aunt, she travels to Cush to visit her grandfather, the Roman official for Cush, and grandmother. By chance, she hears her grandfather mention that her father is serving in the Cushite palace. Filled with hope, she propels herself into a quest to find a man she’s never met. Seeking an old friend of her mother’s, Chariline stows away aboard a cargo vessel and soon must trust her life to the ship’s handsome young captain, Theo, as she becomes increasingly ill during the voyage. Her questions will take her from Cush, to Caesarea, and across the Mediterranean Sea, all the way to the city of Rome. What she doesn’t know, however, is that someone from the palace has sent a killer on her trail to put an end to her questions.
Afshar starts with two characters of faith, both of whom experience a deeper understanding of Jesus’s message through various trials. Chariline prays for answers but tends to hear responses she wants, which ends up endangering her life. Despite her desperate need to find her father, Chariline must find a way to trust the Lord’s plan instead of her own. Characters from Afshar’s earlier novels including Thief of Corinth (HNR 85) and Daughter of Rome (HNR 91) assist Chariline in her quest, particularly Theo, who becomes a main character in this storyline. His love of sailing, its techniques, and the crew of his ship provided some of my favorite moments. Rich in emotion and heart, Jewel of the Nile is another example of Afshar’s creative talent in bringing to life great characters, narratives with insightful spiritual depth, and breathtaking historical detail. Recommended.