The Advocate   -     By: Randy Singer
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The Advocate

Tyndale House / 2014 / Paperback

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A first-century legal thriller! At the trial of Christ, brilliant young assessor Theophilus suggests that Pontius Pilate offer to release Barabbas. But the strategy backfires---and an innocent man suffers crucifixion. Three decades later, Theophilus defends Paul against Nero's baseless accusations. Can he mount a defense that will keep another blameless man from execution?

Product Information

Format: Paperback
Number of Pages: 400
Vendor: Tyndale House
Publication Date: 2014
Dimensions: 8.25 X 5.50 (inches)
ISBN: 1414348606
ISBN-13: 9781414348605
Availability: In Stock

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Publisher's Description

At the trial of Christ, Theophilus, brilliant young assessore raised in the Roman aristocracy, stands behind Pontius Pilate and whispers, “Offer to release Barabbas.” The strategy backfires, and Theophilus never forgets the sight of an innocent man unjustly suffering the worst of all possible deaths—Roman crucifixion.

Three decades later, Theophilus has proven himself in the legal ranks of the Roman Empire. He has survived the insane rule of Caligula and has weathered the cruel tyrant’s quest to control the woman he loves. He has endured the mindless violence of the gladiator games and the backstabbing intrigue of the treason trials.

Now he must face another evil Caesar, defending the man Paul in Nero’s deranged court. Can Theophilus mount a defense that will keep another innocent man from execution?

The advocate’s first trial altered the course of history. His last will change the fate of an empire.

Editorial Reviews

As a young man, Theophilus had lofty dreams of becoming one of Rome’s elite advocates. After a childhood of privilege and rigorous training he was equipped with the skills needed to seek truth, sway Roman politics, and change the world. At age twenty, Theophilus was appointed as chief legal advisor to Pontius Pilate. It was during this time that Theophilus encountered Jesus and faced his first true test—one in which he failed miserably. When his service to Pilate ended, Theophilus returned to his beloved Rome to find mayhem in the senate and a lethally paranoid emperor. In the midst of this environment, Theophilus begins his career as an advocate—attempting to navigate the treacherous political waters of a failed republic and an insane emperor. With excellent historical details and strong spiritual components, The Advocate brings to life the story of Theophilus.

I first heard about The Advocate last year in an interview with Randy Singer. At the time it sounded fantastically intriguing with an epic scope and unique speculative angle. I couldn’t wait for the chance to read it. Finally, after a year of waiting I had the opportunity to dive in this book and was quite impressed by the imagination and originality of this story.

About eighty percent of The Advocate is told from Theophilus’ first-person perspective and works exceptionally well. I wasn’t anticipating this approach to the story, but it has the intended effect of bringing readers deep into Theophilus’ mind and helping them better understand the various situations he must work through. However, as the book switches from first-person to third-person the voice doesn’t change. As a result, the portions written from the third-person point of view feel disconnected and lack the same intensity other parts of this book are able to achieve.

Aside from this issue, there is really little else to criticize. This is an exceptionally well-written book. The details are amazing and the fictional story of Theophilus feels like a historical event. Additionally, Singer creates an intense and immersive environment where the reader can truly appreciate the intricacies the Roman political scene as well as the uncertainties facing Roman citizens of all classes. The progressive decline of the Roman Empire and its rulers is presented with detail, but streamlined so that the story flows smoothly and does not become cumbersome to read.

In addition to creating a vibrant historical and political setting, Singer expertly portrays the various spiritual ideas of the time. While it’s easy to shake our heads at these ancient beliefs, in The Advocate, the reader gets a real sense of the history and reasons behind why the Romans worshiped as they did. As someone who likes to better understand why people believe what they do, I found these portions of the book absolutely fascinating.

Given the time period in which this book is set, there are some very gritty and difficult scenes. Most readers are familiar with the brutality of the Roman justice system and the senseless death of thousands. But Singer tactfully brings these emotionally charged historical facts into his book. Not surprising, some of these scenes are difficult to read. For the squeamish—reader beware.

I cannot imagine the number of hours Singer spent researching and writing this story. It is one of his finest works and I thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to read it. I waited a year to read The Advocate and I was not disappointed.

PW Starred review:
Veteran lawyer-author Singer (The Last Plea Bargain) uses the idea advanced elsewhere that the Bible books Luke and Acts were written as legal briefs to defend the Apostle Paul against the Roman emperor Nero. The two biblical books are addressed to an enigmatic Theophilus, (a name meaning “lover of God,”) and Singer develops a fictional Theophilus, a lawyer who stood behind Pilate to advise him to offer up Jesus Christ to be crucified. Theophilus witnesses the lives of Jesus and Paul unfold, and has to decide based on the evidence whether to join the early movement of Jesus followers and become a victim of the great persecution of Nero. Some of the dialog comes directly from Scripture; other speeches are faithful to biblical characters such as Paul: “The most important thing is not that the letter proclaims my innocence but that it proclaims the good news about the Messiah.” Cross James Michener’s great historical fiction with a John Grisham legal thriller, and you’ve got this epic classic by Singer.

Randy Singer has been long known for his pulse-pounding legal thrillers that keep you turning pages late into the night. He manages to balance complex plots with deep and relevant themes, wrapping them around a storyline that pulls you in and doesn’t let go. In fact, you could say that Singer writes like his main characters practice law: with razor-sharp suspense, a dash of danger, and no fear of tackling difficult cases. His newest thriller, The Advocate, is no exception.

The Advocate is unlike anything Singer has ever written, taking readers back two thousand years to the Roman Empire and its famed legal system. It’s here that he introduces us to Rome’s most infamous lawyer—or advocate—a man named Theophilus. The book is really the story of Theophilus’s life and how influenced he was by Jesus of Nazareth. Make no mistake: this may be historical fiction, but it’s still Singer’s unique brand of legal thriller. Only instead of shootouts and corrupt lawyers, you get gladiatorial games and an insane emperor.

Theophilus was the perfect biblical figure for Singer to morph into his titular advocate. We literally know nothing for certain of the person to whom Luke/Acts was written, but many have speculated, based on the way he is addressed, that he was a high-ranking Roman official. Singer, with some actual factual precedent, presents Theophilus as Paul’s advocate before Nero, making Luke/Acts serve as legal evidence in the case. Along the way, we meet characters such as Pontius Pilate, to whom Theophilus serves as an assistant or asessore, the emperors Caligula and Nero, and Jesus himself.

Singer, as a lawyer/pastor/storyteller, has created a story that perfectly honors all three professions. While the story is, obviously, fictional, Singer weaves the story so well that I’m convinced it could all actually have been fact. He is very careful to get his biblical and historical details correct. In fact, what I really want is an annotated version to tell me what we know for sure biblically, what’s accurate historically, and where Singer takes artistic liberty.

Actually, what I really want to do is give this book to every Christian ever because through it, they’ll not only be entertained, they’ll finish it knowing so much more about how their faith interacts with history. Most Christians have this idea of “secular” history (what they get taught in schools) and “Christian” history (what they read in Scripture and are taught in church) and rarely do the twain ever meet. Singer, through the method of fictional story, is able to factually place the early church in context of history better than most history books.

The Advocate is just simply incredible. You may think you know the story, especially since it’s based on history, but Singer still pulls a few surprises. Rarely do I ever say that a book left me awestruck, but I’ll say it for this one. All of Singer’s books have been great, but this one…this one’s special.

Singer is a well-established legal thriller author, but The Advocate takes a huge swing away from this genre into historical fiction as readers follow Theophilus, a real person from the New Testament books of Luke and Acts, on a fictional journey. In doing so, Singer presents a compelling tale based on two real trials: that of Jesus and that of Paul in Nero’s court. This book is a riveting look into ancient Rome and offers parallels to our current political climate.

Since Theophilus’ early days when his prompt “offer to release Barabbas” backfired, he has been haunted by the death of Jesus, an innocent man. Theophilus rises quickly as a defender of the common people oppressed by Roman political powers. He falls in love and has a son who he will do anything to defend. His journey takes him through treason trials, gladiator fights and finally to his greatest trial: against Nero and defending Paul, a Christ follower.

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  1. Appomattox,VA
    Age: Under 18
    Gender: Female
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    Three Biblical mentions turned into a Historical thriller!
    November 19, 2014
    Nicki Olsen
    Appomattox,VA
    Age: Under 18
    Gender: Female
    *Book Description*

    Theophilus is a Roman Aristocrat...the very same man that, three decades ago, stood behind Pontious Pilate and offered a suggestion...to release Barabbas. Unfortunately that plan backfired and, equally unfortunate, that is what has left Theophilus aching for justice after witnessing the cruel death of Jesus of Nazareth...an innocent man. When the case of Paul of Tarsus is brought up, he can't help but think this is his chance to redeem his decision that he feels ultimately led Jesus to the cross. Though his head knows the truth, his heart can't shake the feeling he could have stopped it. When given the choice, Theophilus defends Paul in front of Rome's cruelest tyrant. In the end, will the Apostle show Theophilus the truth or will Theophilus witness the death of another innocent man...or his own death?

    *What I liked*

    Whoa. I believe that is the exact word I used when I first read even the description...when I opened the book to the first few pages. Oh.My. Randy Singer has got to be the best Christian non-fiction writer ever. He magically brought Theophilus, a man mentioned only three times in the Bible, and turned him into a vital part of the story of Paul...and Jesus. He offers an eye opening account of both stories as well as a look into how Paul's case affected his family.

    *What I didn't like*

    This book is really, really good. Which is why I will say this. Stick with it. This book, though good, is really, really hard to get into. Incredibly hard in fact to get into because of all the Roman History involved. While some may love that and dig into like a huge piece of chocolate cake...to use my analogy to the fullest...others may prefer vanilla or to be daring, red velvet. ;)

    *My Rating*

    I give The Advocate...

    5 stars!

    *Why my rating is what it is*

    My rating is five stars because this book, while hard to get into for me, really offers an in-depth look on not just Theophilus' life but also on Paul's. Randy does an expert job on creating a real experience in their lives and Roman History. He does all of this with just 3 mentions in the Bible! Fantastic!

    * I recieved this book from Tyndale and Bookfun.org in exchange for my honest review. All thoughts are my own and I was not compensated in any other way.
  2. 5 Stars Out Of 5
    The Advocate
    November 13, 2014
    Terri
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    What an extraordinarily, amazing book! I received this book from bookfun.org in exchange for my honest opinion and was hardly able to put it down from the very first word. Randy Singer did an exceptional job of blending fictional and historical characters in the story. I especially loved the character of Theophilus and watching him change over the years. It is awesome that he is a actual historical figure and is even mentioned in the Bible. The corruption of the Roman emperors and the spinelessness of the Senate are almost more than you can bear to read. The intrigue and suspense will have you holding your breath and the ending is absolutely overwhelming! I cannot say enough good things about this book. You MUST read it for yourself. I know you won't be disappointed!
  3. 5 Stars Out Of 5
    Breathtaking and inspiring!
    November 11, 2014
    T Cramer
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    Randy Singer takes a man mentioned three times in the New Testament and writes a breathtaking and inspiring novel. The story begins when Theophilus is a young Roman at age 14. He is raised in Roman Aristocracy and attends a school of rhetoric in Rome under the instruction of his lifetime mentor, Senaca, who is a philosopher and a statesman. Due to a conflict with another student from the school, Theophilus is sent to Greece to continue his education and training. He returns to Rome with the intention of starting his career as an Advocate, only to discover the earlier conflict from his school days in Rome has not completely been forgotten. Therefore, he is sent to Rome to serve under Pilot, the prefect of the Roman province of Judea from AD 26-36. Theophilus serves as assessore, or legal adviser to Pilot and is present in Jerusalem during the Passover, arrest, trial, and crucifixion of Jesus. Theophilus is both confused and impressed by Jesus. He never believed Jesus to be guilty of any crime, and throughout his life, he lives with regret of the role he played in the death of Jesus. After the death of Jesus, Theophilus eventually returns to Rome again to resume his life as an Advocate. He makes a name for himself by taking on very public and impossible to win cases in a corrupt Roman legal system.

    While I love historical fiction, this time period is difficult for me, personally, to stomach with the cruelty dispensed by the Roman Empire and their insane Emperors. With that being said, I was fascinated with this story and adored and admired so many of the characters. I was exposed to terrible acts of betrayal overshadowed by amazing acts of heroism. I was reminded of the horrific trials and tribulations the early Church was subjected to. I was treated to beautiful love stories, stoicism, faith, hope, and loyalty. This is one of the most fascinating books Ive read. I laughed and I cried. It is simply amazing and in my opinion, it far exceeds 5 stars.

    I received a copy of this book from the publisher, through The Book Club Network (bookfun.org) in exchange for my honest review.
  4. PA
    Age: 25-34
    Gender: female
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    Excellent Book
    September 2, 2014
    rlighthouse
    PA
    Age: 25-34
    Gender: female
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    After reading my first Randy Singer book last year I was hooked and set out to read all of his published books. The Advocate did not disappoint. Singer took his legal thriller writing style and wrote about Theophilus, a young man from the New Testament. Theophilus while a real person in the Bible is used as a fictional character in this book as he embarks on his journey of rising in the legal ranks of Rome. He is there while Jesus is tried and crucified and personally feels the pain of the crucifixion after his former classmates tried to crucify him. He feels the pain of not being able to save him when he suggested Barrabbas as a trade hoping the angry mob would choose Jesus. I really enjoyed this book- the author has a way of drawing the reader into what ever situation he writes about and providing all the details needed so that they feel they are really a part of the story.
  5. Irvine, CA
    Age: 55-65
    Gender: male
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    Biblical Historical Fiction Legal Thriller
    September 1, 2014
    VicsMediaRoom
    Irvine, CA
    Age: 55-65
    Gender: male
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    Randy Singer in his book The Advocate published by Tyndale House Publishers gives us a legal thriller featuring Theophilus from The Bible.

    From the Back Cover: At the trial of Christ, Theophilus, brilliant young assessore raised in the Roman aristocracy, stands behind Pontius Pilate and whispers, Offer to release Barabbas. The strategy backfires, and Theophilus never forgets the sight of an innocent man unjustly suffering the worst of all possible deathsRoman crucifixion.

    Three decades later, Theophilus has proven himself in the legal ranks of the Roman Empire. He has survived the insane rule of Caligula and has weathered the cruel tyrants quest to control the woman he loves. He has endured the mindless violence of the gladiator games and the backstabbing intrigue of the treason trials.

    Now he must face another evil Caesar, defending the man Paul in Neros deranged court. Can Theophilus mount a defense that will keep another innocent man from execution?

    The advocates first trial altered the course of history. His last will change the fate of an empire.

    Ever wonder who Theophilus is when you read the Gospel of Luke and the Book of Acts? Remember that when Luke was writing what we consider those two books was really just one long letter. And it is believed to be a legal brief in defense of the Apostle Paul whom Theophilus was defending before Nero. Now Randy Singer has taken that bit of information and expanded it into one of the best historical fiction novels I think I have ever read. Mr. Singer is always good for a wonderful read however I think, this time, he has outdone himself. The Advocate is entertaining and will have you flipping pages as fast as you can read but, be prepared, it is also thought-provoking. This is a multi-faceted story with interconnected subplots that will keep you guessing until the end. I do not recommend starting this book late at night because it will cost you sleep as you will not want to put it down. Randy Singer is an excellent writer and knows how to twist your nerve endings as he tightens the suspense. I recommend this book highly!

    Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Tyndale House Publishers. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commissions 16 CFR, Part 255: Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.
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