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review 2016-07-24 18:21
Thought-provoking historical fiction
Eugenios: Servant of Kings - Julian Bauer

Julian Bauer's latest release, Eugenios, is a novel based on the evolving relationship of two Jewish families with some key Roman politicians and Jesus' family.


The book is divided into two sections. In the first one, the reader will meet the Jewish slave Sphaerus, his wife Kallisto, and their children; Eugenios, Theodoros, and Sarah. The second part describes the lives of their descendants, especially on Eugenios's whose role in Roman politics will affect all their extended families.


The story begins in 38 BC during the reigns of Emperor Augustus Octavian, and Herod, governor of Galilee. After Herod invades Joppa, his soldiers murder the family of Kallisto. At the time a young virgin, she is taken as slave and offered as a gift to Octavian. However, Octavian orders Sphaerus to marry her, so as to avert a jealous fit from his wife, Livia; thus Octavian hoped to keep the peace of his household. That night changes Kallisto's fate forever, from a life of comfort as the daughter of a very wealthy Jewish merchant to that of an impoverished housewife of a slave. Nonetheless Sphaerus's love, consideration, and patience win her over and save her from becoming entertainment for Octavian's soldiers.


In the first part of the story, the reader will follow Sphaerus and his family through political intrigues, challenges, and the ordeals of Rome and its colonies. However, since Octavian appreciates Sphaerus's loyalty, service, and wise counsel, the slave's family benefit from the protection of the emperor. However, it will also be influenced by the societal and religious that emerge as Jesus' ministry begins to flourish.


In the second part of the novel, the Roman Empire is under attack and its enemies are allying against it. Mr. Bauer reveals how the constant political changes in Rome have ripple effects on all its citizens and specifically on Eugenios, Theodoros, and Sarah.


In contrast with other books by Mr. Bauer that I have read, this is a well-researched historical-fiction novel emphasizing current topics such as corruption, lack of integrity in government, earnest ambition leading to war, strategic treaties, the decline of social morals, and religious metamorphoses”. The author skillfully weaves the threads of Jesus' life with that of Sphaerus and his family. Their relationship will come together in an unexpected climax at the end.


Eugenios is a thought-provoking book that educates and creates awareness of how the choices we make affect our future.


For me, it is one of the best books written by Mr. Bauer.


I highly recommend Eugenios to readers who enjoy historical fiction novels that interweave universal themes in a refreshing new way!


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review 2016-02-10 06:08
The Story of Science: From the Writings of Aristotle to the Big Bang Theory
The Story of Science: From the Writings of Aristotle to the Big Bang Theory - Julian Elfer,Susan Wise Bauer

This book deserves more than the three stars I'm giving it; it's a really well-written book with citations and references out the wazoo, but that was its handicap when it comes to the audiobook.


The narrator was excellent and I found the information interesting, but the purpose of the book - a precis of all the ground-breaking science in history - does not lend itself to easy listening.  Each chapter ended with references to books pertaining to the relevant science, including which editions are better than others, which are available in ebook, and sometimes which chapters of which books to focus on or ignore.  Listening to a narrator spell all this out, often including website addresses, was tedious in the extreme; there are only so many times you can hear even the most cultured British voice say "go to h t t p colon slash slash..." before you want to start banging your head on the steering wheel.


For all that though, I think I'm giving the book a bum rap; it really deserves a higher rating, but it also deserves to be read in print form (or ebook).  I'm definitely going to buy it so I can re-read the bits I missed because of all the head-banging.

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review 2015-10-10 17:08
Two powerful stories of faith, discovering, and growth
The Lawyer's Relic and a Grandfather's Dilemma - Julian Bauer




The Lawyer's Relic, penned by Julian Bauer, is an entertaining and educational novella about an agnostic lawyer, Mr. Antonio Mendoza and his bizarre experiences with a relic.


The story begins with the mysterious appearance of a Christmas gift at Mr. Mendoza's office. The package was wrapped with a bloody napkin and had no sender's name or return address. Inside, he found a bloodstained linen napkin and an index card citing John 20:7 “and the cloth that had covered his head, not with the burial cloths but rolled up in a separate place.”


At first he thought someone had sent him evidence from a criminal case. However, when he saw that people experienced life transformations after coming in contact with the napkin, he started to wonder about its origin.


His quest for answers led him to the Catholic Monsignor who, after noticing Mendoza's skepticism, referred him to the local Rabbi to inquire about Jewish burial customs in Jesus' time. Not fully satisfied with their explanations, Mr. Mendoza ordered a DNA test on the napkin. His quest for convincing evidence about the authenticity and origin of the relic would ultimately take him to the Vatican.


Is the bloodstained napkin truly a relic? Are the alleged miracles authentic? What series of events will bring Mr. Mendoza to his knees with a humble heart toward God? All these questions will be answered as the story unfolds, leading to an unexpected end.


Since I mainly write book reviews for Catholic publishers and authors, the repetitive arguments and clichés about conviction and conversions are sometimes extremely boring for me. Mr. Bauer cleverly and convincingly uses characters' conversations to make his points without resorting to the “preaching tone” that non believers can find off-putting.


It was refreshing to read the courtship scenes between the agnostic lawyer and his deeply devout Catholic fiancé, Pam. They are miles apart in personalities and world views, but those differences make their love unique and stronger as they join forces and resources to solve the mystery at hand.


The Lawyer's Relic is a short, easy-to-read novella that might cause a revitalization of your faith.









After the success of his first historical novella, The Scholar's Challenge, author Julian Bauer shares two short novellas in one book, The Lawyer's Relic and A Grandfather's Dilemma. The first novella recounts the story of an agnostic lawyer, an alleged relic, and the life-changing experiences that it causes to those who came in contact with it.


The second novella, A Grandfather's Dilemma, is the story of Tom Rider, the spoiled, sole heir of Rider Distilleries. The story begins with an unexpected visit from Ms. Sara Rider and her son, Tom, to Mr. Larry Dexter, author of the successful book, Developing Character. Based on what Ms. Rider has read she is absolutely convienced that only Mr. Dexter could help Tom become a wise, objective, ethical individual and a outstanding CEO.


At first Mr. Dexter refuses to help Tom. However, after some persistence from Ms. Rider, he accepts the challenge under some tough conditions for Tom who is used to getting his way.


As the story unfolds, the reader will be engaged into their character developing struggles, steep learning curve, and gratifying moments. Mr. Dexter's system is a mix of tough love, establishing clear rules and the consequences for breaking them, persistency, study of the Word of God and leading by example.The author shows why one should never underestimate the power of prayers, the wisdom that comes with age, and mercy. The end of the book, although dramatic, fits the novella's overall theme--compassion!


I recommend A Grandfather's Dilemma, to parents of teens and young adults who are looking for an astute method to raise a man of integrity.



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