The Inner Sea: A Novel of the Year 100

Written by Zane Kotker
Review by Viviane Crystal

Imagine yourself back in the world of Europe and the Middle East in the year 100. Jesus Christ has been crucified, the Temple of Jerusalem has been destroyed, and a pantheon of Roman gods rules the known world, vying for followers and tolerated by all. One denomination, however, threatens the world of Rome, that of the Christians, who refuse to offer obeisance to the Roman Emperor Trajan. Their intrepid refusal to bow before Trajan is admirable in one sense, yet elicits fear, as the penalty for their intractable attitude is death. Add to that that the families and known acquaintances of these Christians are subject to ruin as well.

This is their story. It’s the tale of a young girl from a noble family who falls in love with the Christ and is willing to renounce everyone and everything she had before – to a point, that is. It’s about a young Jew who rejects the Christians’ message but is captivated by their beliefs and dogmatic attitudes, cemented further when he falls in love with one Christian soon to be condemned. The essence of this novel lies in the numerous faiths presented, such as the devotees of Isis, etc., and the ardency of their supporters. Trajan’s desire to avoid killing for its own pleasure is notable as well. The Inner Sea presents a time of history in which commerce thrived and loyalty was rewarded beyond imagination. Trajan’s ability to coerce believers to loyalty with a small slip of reason is intriguing. Senseless refusal yielded horrific consequences. The Inner Sea is a captivating look at a historical time teetering on the brink of change, with global consequences.