Pillars of Barabbas (The Barabbas Trilogy)

Written by M.D. House
Review by Viktor Steiner

I’m sure readers of the Bible sometimes wonder what happened next. Was that prophecy fulfilled? Did that tax collector or that prostitute manage to start a new, upright life? What became of the healed cripple?

M.D. House has invested much creative fantasy in developing the life stories of several New Testament characters – some prominent, like the Apostles Peter and Paul; some less so, such as Joanna, Cornelius, and the eponymous renegade Barabbas.

In this novel set thirty years after the crucifixion, we learn how the early Church reached out to both Jews and pagans, explaining and demonstrating the teachings of Jesus, how it grew and spread to Africa, Armenia, India and even the wilds of Britannia.

Faithful Barabbas and his deeply spiritual wife, Chanah, play leading roles in this multi-faceted narrative. Summoned by the Church leaders to Jerusalem from their home on Malta, they are surprised to find themselves abruptly sent to Rome to supervise the building of the Temple and assist Paul in his dealings with the rather perturbed Emperor Nero. How will he react when some Senators blame the expanding Christian community for the massive fires that ravage the city?

In a separate episode, Barabbas’ son Matthew joins Cornelius in the heart of Africa, initially to develop trade routes, but soon to become involved in both pioneering missionary work and dramatic military activities.

Whether hastening through Roman streets for an audience with the Emperor, sailing to Joppa, trekking through the hostile African jungle, or sharing fellowship among believers, the author sets the scenes with great skill and realism. All the main characters are richly developed, and the plot is mostly plausible. This book – the second of a trilogy about Barabbas – is primarily of interest to readers familiar with the New Testament story and could be seen as a vivid continuation of the Acts of the Apostles.