Echo in the darkness Essay

Francine Rivers has once again captured the Roman empire of the 1st century AD. Rome, Ephesus, and Israel come alive with compelling people and small historic details.

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 An Echo in the Darkness, the middle book of the series, picks up immediately after A Voice in the Wind’s climax. An Echo in the Darkness’s main conflicts surround the Valerian family (whom Hadassah served) and their responses to the sacrificial price that Hadassah paid. The resulting journeys towards redemption play out wonderfully and, as the book progresses, become more and more moving.

“An Echo in the Darkness,” book 2 in the Mark of the Lion series, continues the story of Hadassah, a Jewish young woman bought as a household slave by a rich Roman family, the Valerians, and eventually sent to the lions. Hadassah has survived the lion attack on the arena. Treated by Alexander, a young physician, she is left with a limp and a scarred face that she hides behind a veil. Hadassah helps Alexander to tend his patients, most of them poor. Being a Christian, she prays for them and speaks to them of things spiritual, nursing the soul as well as the body. Her treatment seems to be under a special blessing as many of her patients recover, and Hadassah gains the reputation of a healer.

When the wealthy learn Hadassah’s gift of healing, she begins to be summoned to the homes of the rich, and it is only a matter of time before she is called to the house of the Valerians, her former masters. The sick person who needs help is Phoebe, the mother of Hadassah’s former mistress Julie. Phoebe had always been good to Hadassah. Hadassah, now known under the name of Rapha, willingly accepts the call. Things grow more difficult for her, emotionally, when another call comes, this time from Julia Valerian, her former mistress and the source of all the pain. Hadassah feels obligated to help Julia because of the promise given years ago to Phoebe.

Alexander, the physician, says that nothing can be done for Julia. She is dying. Marcus, Julia’s brother, takes her from her house to the family villa. Hadassah follows, unrecognized by Marcus. She and Marcus used to be in love, he had even asked Julia to free Hadassah so that he can marry her. Hadassah, however, had refused his proposal because Marcus was not a Christian. Now she realizes that she still loves the man, but feels that her disfigurement has put an end to any possibility of them ever being together. As she tends the dying Julia, Hadassah struggles with anger and bitterness. Living in the same house with Marcus and seeing him every day add to her suffering.


An Echo in the Darkness by Francine Rivers, March 1, 1998,

Tyndale House Publishers

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