Thief of Corinth
After years under the oppressive yoke of her grandfather’s and mother’s expectations, Ariadne runs away to her father’s house in Corinth, refusing to marry the brute her grandfather picked for her. Her parents’ divorce has weighed heavily on her father, and it isn’t long before she discovers the secret that rends the marriage in two: her father is the Honorable Thief, a man who robs from corrupt citizens to help himself and others who have suffered from corruption. When a financial crisis begins to threaten their livelihood, Ariadne decides to help her father in his after-dark escapades. But after meeting Paul, a Jewish rabbi, Ariadne’s father decides to stop stealing. Ariadne isn’t convinced, though. She believes becoming the Honorable Thief is the only way to save their home from debt collectors… until her actions harm those she loves. Can Paul’s God ease the suffering caused by Ariadne’s mistakes? And can this God offer hope in the midst of uncertainty and hardship?
In the first half of the book, our main character, Ariadne, isn’t directly affecting the plot. There isn’t a strong protagonist, and the story seems uncertain about where it wants to go. Then in the second half, consequences from Ariadne’s choices propel the plot forward, and the novel becomes hard to put down. Afshar is great at developing characters who struggle with God’s message. Ariadne’s journey to overcome past hurt is what gives this novel heart. Additionally, I enjoyed the research spent on medical practices, clothing styles, toiletry habits, and social decorum. As a Robin Hood story set in the ancient world that explores the deeper morality of responding to villainy with thieving, this is an enjoyable tale with interesting characters, a strong setting, and an endearing message.