Monday, December 17, 2018

I, Claudia, Just Out! Latest by Author Lin Wilder!

While he was sitting on the judgment seat,
 his wife sent him a message, saying,
“Have nothing to do with that righteous Man; 
for last night I suffered greatly 
in a dream because of Him.” 
—GOSPEL OF MATTHEW, 27:19



“M’lady, M’lady, are you all right?” I could hear Antonia’s concern. She knew how I had dreaded this journey, how fervent had been my prayers for some miracle to forestall what I knew was destiny—his, mine, and the world’s. Unlike the others, Antonia had known me almost since birth. 
“I’m fine, Antonia, fine. Please do not worry, I am just drained. We have been traveling now for more than thirty days. The heat makes it almost impossible to sleep at night—it never cools off here.” It was still only midmorning, and yet the temperature had to be over ninety. The fall weather in Athens had always been gloriously cool, crisp, wholly different from this unrelenting, insufferable heat. Antonia wasn’t fooled by my reply, in spite of my attempt at a smile. I did not blame her. I knew that the upturn of my lips was more rictus than smile...and with good reason. We were heading toward a doom of the kind the world had never seen, and I knew there was nothing I could do or say to stop it. 
Surveying my surroundings, I felt no relief at the unchanged jubilance, the joyous expressions on the faces of the crowds. It would come, and soon. I am nearing the end of my life. Seventy-nine years lived as a shadow, a face behind a curtain, whispering the residues of a dream. Insubstantial, unheard. But my time of silence is done. It is time to write the truth for those with ears to hear it. 
I am Procula, wife of Lucius Pontius Pilate. My husband has been dead for several decades now. Like me, Lucius is the subject of vast ignorance, lies, and injustice. The very name Pontius Pilate has become synonymous with cowardice and betrayal. Those who claim to know the substance of my dream believe it emanates from evil. Others insist that those words that will be recited by Christians, “Suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, and died,” were the source of terror in my dreams. I was told by the Oracle that those eight words would echo throughout the centuries and be memorialized in something that would be called the Apostles’ Creed. 
Most of the people reciting the Creed would mindlessly overlook the word under and believe that the Righteous One was crucified by my husband. 
The slanderous claims, and all others like them, no longer break my heart; they are merely annoying. I often think of the writing of Socrates, a man I consider a good friend though he died before I was born. His wisdom and humility await those rare searchers of truth. “I know I am intelligent because I know I know nothing.” 
I was born in Delphi, daughter of the last of the Oracles of Pythia. It was a time of disorder, chaos, terror, and the death of nations. My mother broke her vow of virginity in lying with my father. She feared for both our lives, because what she had done was punishable by death—hers and mine. The time of the Oracles was coming to an end.
Men no longer listened to the whispers of the prophets, certainly not to the women—not even when we had the words of the gods on our lips. 
I survived, but my mother did not. I was taken to Athens, where I was raised by Adrian and Sabina. Only they knew that I was the last Oracle; my true identity remained a secret to all others—although my husband speculated as much, due to my foreknowledge of so many things.
~~~


I, Claudia

By Lin Wilder


Having read a number of Lin Wilder's books, I have loved each one of them. When she announced her new book, a literary historical novel set in the distant past, I confess I didn't think too much about it...Wilder writes continuously and in various genres. 

Nothing, however, could have prepared me for I, Claudia--not even the book description. Quite simply, I am honored to be one of readers of a novel so insightful, so fulfilling and inspirational, and, yet, so well written, that readers immediately sink in Wilder's choice of words, knowing that much research has had to be done to be able to emulate and expand upon one of the most famous stories ever told. Wilder's decision to write from the perspective of the wife of Pontius Pilate, and thus her husband's role in the crucifixion of Christ, allows readers to move away from the obvious spotlight on Jesus Christ, to those individuals that were actively involved in the background. Those individuals who were destined to be part of a murder--and yet not a murder--but a fulfillment of God's plan.

The key to the manner in which this book is distinguished from others, is that the story, I Claudia, seamlessly blends what historically is fairly well known to those who study theological history and in particular from the Bible. I appreciated greatly Wilder's inclusion of a reference to the writing of Karl Rahner, noting:
Karl Rahner who coined the phrase “anonymous Christian” to describe men and women of “good will” who have not been catechized. Rahner’s categorization provided the solution to a problem that had plagued me for much of my life. Whether because of culture or ethnicity, these are people who have never encountered the Gospel, but who, through some mysterious and unknown power known only to Christ, merit salvation. The phrase anonymous Christian describes men and women like Lucius, Claudia, and Quintillus: people who follow their conscience and live lives of redemptive faith, not mere belief.
For me, as with the author, this was a welcome answer to something that has bothered me all of my life... Thus, discovering that our main character, was the last Oracle born, and that she had special knowledge through her dreams, known to be directly from God, was not surprising...

By Albert Tournaire - École nationale supérieure des Beaux-Art (http://www.ensba.fr/ow2/catzarts/images/E_084_07-25544.JPG), Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=40736158


The only place I knew as home echoes in my mind and heart still, after almost eight decades of absence. The Delphian air is purer, the sky bluer, and the mountains redolent with wisdom. Scrambling through the tunnels beneath the Treasury of Athena kept me safer than I’d have been in a nanny’s arms, and infused me with more knowledge than did my later tutors. It was there, crawling alone around and under those sacred stone structures, that the unreliability of the senses, the language of the Forms, the highest Good, transcendent and absolute, impressed themselves into my very being. That there was just one god, not many, was a certainty I shared with the Hebrews.
~~~

The mystical, the supernatural force of God is emphasized through Claudia's life and her continued connection to Delphi, even after she had married Lucius Pontius Pilate... In fact, the merger for marriage between Claudia's uncle and Pilate, took place at their first meeting when Claudia was just 5 years old. 

And the meeting of Lucius and Claudia on the date of their marriage, both falling immediately in love, lent a further mystical experience to their time together as husband and wife. Reading about their love affair marriage, even while often separated due to his position, was a lovely addition, in my opinion.



They had been married five years when Jesus arrived on the scene. Lucius Pontius Pilate had been specifically placed because of the difficult problems between those of religious faith who were also responding to the King.

Almost immediately after their wedding, Lucius was summoned by Caiaphas and, of course, when he had first arrived, "the game began..." Lucius knew what he would face and, in marching into town fully protected by his vast army, he had chosen to send them away and take a stand...

Striding forward until I was practically on top of the man, I extended my right hand. “Hello, Caiaphas. My name is Lucius Pontius Pilate. Emperor Tiberius has appointed me the new Prefect of Judea.”
~~~

Nevertheless, the priests did everything possible to bring turmoil to the new Prefect, to provide justice... even while graciously thanking him for his protection... But it was when Caiaphas decided what to do when the Christ became so popular... that Lucius knew he might not be the Prefect afterward...




Wilder paints a kinder, gentler Lucius Pontius Pilate than most of history has colored him. Interestingly, the same words may be used, but the tone, setting, and background of the occasion has completely changed as we learn what happened from the viewpoint of Claudia, Lucius' wife... Given the foreknowledge and understanding of Pilate as he accepted his position, together with his life with Claudia and their love, It is quite acceptable, actually believable from the tone set for the book, just how much Pilate hated what he was being forced to do...


If I'd had a chance to think about it, I could have imaged how Wilder would end her book. Still, it surprised, and completed out the lives of the couple who had been separated after only five years. Claudia had been told by the Oracle that would be happening, but she had never shared her knowledge with Lucius. But, in the end, both knew how it would have to be after Jesus had died... The law was the law--and could be used to justify anything if manipulated by those in power...

It's been awhile since a story has been so well written that I felt like I was right there, having entered into the book, visited the places where our characters traveled... Some characterization of those who have been earlier written about could be expected to be recognizable. However, most readers will not know what is based on fact and what has been creatively hypothesized based upon research. The book is magnificent in every way. Each of the main characters presents a unique perspective that dramatically improves the basic story of Jesus' death and resurrection. I cannot find the words to express my emotional response to Lin Wilder's story. I can only say thank you...it was wonderfully inspirational for me...


GABixlerReviews



Lin Wilder holds a Doctorate in Public Health and has published extensively in fields like cardiac physiology, institutional ethics, and hospital management. In 2007, she switched from non-fiction to fiction. Her series of the medical thrillers include many references to the Texas Medical Center where Lin worked for over twenty-three years. 
Her first novel, The Fragrance Shed By A Violet: Murder in the Medical Center, was a winner in the 2017 IAN 2017 Book of the Year Awards, a finalist in the category of mystery. The Fragrance Shed By A Violet was a finalist in the NN Light 2017 Best Book of the Year Award in the category of mystery. Malthus Revisited: The Cup of Wrath, the fourth in the Dr.Lindsey McCall medical mystery series, won Silver/2nd Place award in the 2018 Feathered Quill Book Awards Program for the Women's Fiction category. Malthus Revisited: The Cup of Wrath was selected for the NABE Pinnacle Book Achievement Award Winners for Winter 2018 in the category of thrillers.
Finding the Narrow Path is the true story of why she walked away from -then back to God. I, Claudia is her latest nove. All her books are available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble and at her website, linwilder.com where she writes weekly articles



Note: Videos were selected based upon how close the words fit the novel and are not from any one musical selection.