Book Reviews

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  • GoodReads review by Rebecca, September 9, 2020 (3 stars):

    If you love Roman history, you are going to enjoy this book! I was hooked from page one! Ryan Fleming did a fabulous job with this book, giving an in-depth view, and also bringing these characters to life. With Christianity just making an entrance in the Roman world, there were quite a few things to overcome. The way this book was done made the characters feel alive again, while bringing a fresh perspective. Perfect weekend reading!
  • GoodReads review by Aubry, December 6, 2018 (5 stars):

    I absolutely loved this book. Alternative history books, or alternative tellings of stories in general, are some of my favorite books to read. As someone who grew up in the church and knows the story of Jesus and his disciples, I found myself particularly interested in this read.

    While I don't necessarily believe the Bible's version of the story of Jesus, I had never given much thought to what the "real" story could be. This book changed that. It was fascinating to see Jesus's miracles and other classic scenes from the Bible recreated in a secular way. It really makes you think about the motivation behind Christianity.

    I especially enjoyed that there was an academic paper at the back of the book that the story was based upon. This author obviously did research on the subject and put a lot of effort into using the findings to create a compelling story. I highly recommend this for anyone who is interested in another side to Jesus's story.
  • GoodReads review by Scott, July 4, 2018 (4 stars):

    An interesting story that puts a secular spin on the beginnings of the Christian faith. I really enjoyed reading the author's notes that adds some level of credibility behind his attempt to offer an alternative explanation for some of the mysteries surrounding Christianity and the life of Jesus. Unfortunately, many close-minded religious zealots would find this book blasphemous heresy and would rather believe in their faith instead of documented facts.
  • Midwest Book Review, April 2018:

    Hail Judeas Caesar by Ryan Fleming is a deftly crafted novel… An absolutely riveting read from cover to cover, Hail Judeas Caesar showcases author Ryan Fleming's genuine flair for narrative driven fiction, originality, and skilled storytelling. …an especially and unreservedly recommended addition to community library Historical Fiction collections.
  • Porland Book Review, March 23, 2018 (4 stars):

    In Hail Judeas Caesar, Ryan Fleming crafts a retelling focused from the point of view of the Romans… a fascinating take. …Looking at the story from this point of view, it is actually rather surprising how much it makes sense for Jesus to have been a Roman creation, a clever plot to manipulate a stubborn people through manipulating their own religion… The book itself is well-crafted, with characters that feel believable, if not jumping off the page… Readers who have an open mind and those who enjoy theorizing possibilities are likely to enjoy this compelling historical fiction.
  • Blueink Review, April 2017:

    What if the genesis of the religion followed by a third of the planet was not what it is believed to be? Author Ryan Fleming answers that question in this intriguing historical novel, stripping elements of the divine from Christianity and giving it a thorough re-examination. The novel is peopled with characters familiar to anyone with a passing knowledge of Judeo-Christian history… Fleming contrives a well-placed yarn. His story is engaging, and his characters stay true to themselves… Fans of alternative history will enjoy this book, and the author's attention to detail concerning the everyday life in the era is impressive. He even includes a list of his research sources for those seeking further exploration of his rationale for this compelling tale.
  • Kirkus Reviews, March 3, 2017:

    A debut revisionist novel imagines a political interpretation of Jesus' ministry and the birth of Christianity… Fleming develops a clever and historically convincing narrative that suggests a secular interpretation of the birth of Christianity, shorn of supernatural explanation. In addition, Pilate is made much more than a villain. While certainly impatient and capable of great cruelty, he also shows compassion and love, as evidenced by his utter devotion to his wife, Claudia. Jesus, too, is portrayed in artfully complex colors, theologically iconoclastic but also egotistical and sensitive to criticism. Fleming's attention to historical detail is admirable – he must have studiously researched the cultural and political realities of the day. For those more interested in the scholarly plausibility of the plot, the author includes a note at the end of the book discussing precisely that. An inventive and impressively researched account of the influence of Rome on the genesis of Christianity.
  • Albuquerque magazine Crosswinds Weekly, by the chief editor, Sharon Kayne:

  • …a fascinating theory about Jesus.  It’s an astonishingly simple, yet rational theory and it turns Christianity on its ear.  His [Fleming’s] book is so accessible, and to this critic, so compelling.  When placed in Fleming’s paradigm, the Gospels’ story of Jesus actually makes more sense to me than the interpretation of the faithful.  Whether it ultimately is proven, disproved, or simply ignored, his theory presents readers an interesting idea to chew on encapsulated in an entertaining read.
  • Amazon.com review by Marc Sadowski (4 stars):

    Sweet Jesus!  No pun intended… or is it?  This book was quite the read, and it’s nothing what I thought it would be.  I was expecting this book to resemble Gladiator.  Instead, I was treated to some good, creative alternate history action.  But even the phrase alternate history is not an appropriate word to describe this novel on the Roman’s sway in early Christianity.

    It has to be one of those books that you have to read to truly appreciate.  Fleming writes this in what I like to refer to as a genre-less genre – which means that you don’t need to associate this book with any genre to truly like it.  Just be ready for it.  You might learn something!
  • Anonymous, Albuquerque, New Mexico:

    The vastness and the far-reaching power of the Roman Empire has always been a fascination to me.  Your book has taken my fascination to a new level.  The power reaches into present day.  I find it very plausible that Jesus was a puppet and not a prophet:  a puppet of Rome.  I found your book very thought-provoking and a very acceptable explanation of the origin of Christianity.


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