Monday, September 12, 2016

Ben-Hur: A Tale of The Christ- Carol Wallace (based on that by Lew Wallace)

My Rating: 4 Stars

Description: As one of the bestselling stories of all time, Lew Wallace's Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ has captivated and enthralled millions around the world--both in print and on the big screen. Now Lew's great-great-granddaughter has taken the old-fashioned prose of this classic novel and breathed new life into it for today's audience.

Coming to theaters in August 2016 as Ben-Hur, a major motion picture from MGM and Paramount studios, the story follows Judah Ben-Hur, a Jewish nobleman whose childhood friend Messala betrays him. Accused of trying to murder the new Roman governor in Jerusalem, Judah is sentenced to the galley ships and vows to seek revenge against the Romans and Messala. But a chance encounter with a carpenter from Nazareth sets Judah on a different path.

Rediscover the intrigue, romance, and tragedy in this thrilling adventure.

Also included: the inspiring story-behind-the-story of Lew Wallace--Indiana lawyer, author, and Civil War general.

My Thoughts: I had actually never heard of this book until I saw the 2016 movie trailer. But that trailer captured my attention and so when I saw this book I was really excited to read it. That said, since this edition is a modern adaptation, my review will include both my opinion of the story as is and my opinion of it as a modern story, though I cannot fully compare it to the original.

If you love Biblical fiction, as well as the more wandering tales found in classics, and yet are less comfortable with the language of many of those classics, this should be a good fit for you. Ben-Hur is an intriguing read that follows Judah through a number of different settings and situations. The history is phenomenally woven in, as are the Biblical aspects. Taking into account that it was originally written more than a hundred years ago, back before today's standard of editing, I found the story itself to be well worth the hype surrounding it.

It is difficult to critique this as a modern adaptation, as I have not read the original to know how much as changed. However, the book did not live up to my interpretation of a modern story. From what other reviewers have said, the edition is considerable shorter, with much of the descriptions and internal musing removed in order to make the story more palatable and also to fix pacing issues. Yet there were other issues that Carol Wallace did not fix. One that stood out to me were the number of times that the story would contradicted itself in ways that could have been remedied by the change of a sentence or two.

Ben-Hur is a great story, one I am still glad to have read. However, there is still much that I think could have been improved upon in a modern adaptation.

I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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