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Reviewed by Cheryl E. Rodriguez for Readers' Favorite
Lin Wilder’s historical novel, My Name is Saul, is a testimony of love and faith. As a prisoner held in Mamertine prison, Rome, the apostle Paul reflects upon his life. This is his last night alive; tomorrow morning, Paul will be beheaded. He is weary, yet hopeful and at peace. However, within him stirs one last story to tell, one more letter to be penned to his beloved church. Paul asks Aurelius, his Roman centurion jailer and now dearest friend and secret disciple, to be his scribe for the evening. Aurelius is a willing participant; he is honored by Paul’s request. As a matter of fact, Aurelius would do anything for Paul. As Paul recalls his past life, Aurelius becomes overwhelmed, his ideologies are crushed. What he is hearing can’t possibly be true! Paul is not dismayed by Aurelius’s reaction; he continues to tell the story of his childhood and the man known as Saul of Tarsus. Paul’s tragic past is revealed, and his discovery of the Truth unfolds. “Nothing we can undergo, no amount of sacrifice or torture can alter the truth.”
Lin Wilder pens an unconventional account of the life of the apostle Paul in My Name Is Saul. The narrative is richly detailed and well-researched. Wilder fluently weaves scripture and history together as she draws you into her story. My Name Is Saul is more than a conversation between two men. In a dark and dank prison cell, on their last night together, a foreboding vigil occurs. Yet, their last hours together forge an unbreakable and eternal bond of friendship. The hearts and souls of the characters are exposed. Emotions are felt; at times unspoken thoughts speak louder than the dialogue. The reader is taken on a journey through time, traveling down the road of Saul’s past to the finality of Paul’s present. Using insightful and creative liberties, Wilder fills in the blanks of Saul’s life before his conversion. As the scribe realizes while listening to Paul, “the past and present had to coexist” because the story would be incomplete otherwise. Paul’s entire life was an expedition to discover the Truth. At the end of his days, he understands that the story of his life belonged to the Lord, the author and finisher of his faith. My Name is Saul proves that no matter what we have done, “all of us can be used by Christ.” It is a compelling read from beginning to end.