The Thief by Stephanie Landsem (Book Review)

The Thief by Stephanie Landsem (Book Review)The Thief by Stephanie Landsem
Series: The Living Water #2
Published by: Howard Books
Genres: Christian
Pages: 368
My Rating:
Buy It Now (Affiliate Link): Buy on Amazon

A Roman centurion longing for peace and a Jewish woman hiding a deadly secret witness a miracle that transforms their lives and leads them to the foot of the cross.

My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?

Nissa is a Jewish woman with a sharp tongue and no hope of marriage. Abandoned by the God she once loved, her only recourse is to depend upon Mouse, the best thief in Jerusalem, to keep her blind brother, Cedron, fed and the landlord satisfied.

Longinus is a Roman centurion haunted by death and failure and is desperate to escape the accursed Judean province. Accepting a wager that will get him away from the aggravating Jews and their threats of revolt, he sets out to catch the thieves harassing the marketplace.

When a controversial teacher miraculously heals Cedron, Nissa hopes for freedom from her life of lies. But the supposed miracle brings only more misfortune, and Longinus, seeking to learn more about the mysterious healer, finds himself drawn instead to Nissa, whose secret will determine the course of both their futures.

Cedron, Longinus, and Nissa are unexpectedly caught up in the arrest, trial, and crucifixion of Jesus. As danger closes in on them from every side, they must decide if the love and redemption Jesus offers is true or just another false promise. How can the so-called Messiah save them from their shackles, when he cannot even save himself?


The star this month was The Thief by Stephanie Landsem. I didn’t get through a lot of books this month (only three) but that’s because I was so engrossed in Landsem’s book. I had set a reading goal of 5 books so I did get at least halfway to it.  Let’s get straight to it (because I loved this book)

I have read a lot of Christian or Biblical fiction over the years and some of it I haven’t been able to give a positive review. In fact, some of those books I have downright hated because they took too many liberties with the stories or omitted important facts so I was hesitant about reading The Thief by Stephanie Landsem although I was deeply interested. Landsem did take her own liberties with the stories adding details here and there to make the events more complete but nothing that she included in her book made me feel uncomfortable with it as a Christian fiction book. The fact that Landsem attempted to characterize Jesus Christ himself as a character in her novel was ambitious but she succeeded.

It may seem odd to say but Jesus himself is not the central character here in The Thief but rather a supporting character to the story of Nissa. Nissa is a young Jewish girl who has been dealt a hard life – her elder brother is blind, her father is a gambler, her mother is an alcoholic and no man wants to marry Nissa as she is rather plain and lacks any talent with cooking or weaving. On many occasions she finds herself nearly homeless or starved. She has come to rely on “Mouse” the greatest thief in the city to help keep her and her brother with a roof over their heads and food in their bellies but keeping such company comes with a price. When Jesus enters the city performing miracles and teaching of forgiveness and salvation Nissa is at a crossroads. Does she embrace the words of this teacher, turn her back on Mouse and his thieving ways and risk starvation and homelessness? Or does she continue her life with Mouse, despite its sinfulness, and embrace the comfort it provides?

Nissa’s life and journey is one that is worth reading.

Obviously there are some parts of the story that are written as expected – Jesus’ miracles, teachings, arrest, crucifixion and resurrection however there are other parts that did not go as I anticipated. As we know Jesus hung on the cross between two thieves who were also crucified that day. Was one of those thieves our beloved Mouse who stole only to feed and house Nissa’s family? Or did Mouse perhaps learn an important lesson during Jesus’ final days? Did Nissa turn away from her thieving ways and embrace salvation or did she find herself caught and punished for her sins? Only the book will tell so I encourage you to read it.

Interested? Get it here.

Ashley LaMar
Ashley bounces between Atlanta, GA + Charleston, WV with her husband and two small dogs for life and work. If she’s not writing or blogging, she can usually be found cooking, reading, or watching baseball. Follow her on Twitter @ashleyfromfbl
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