by Daniel M. Friedenberg
In this vividly told historical novel, Daniel M. Friedenberg reconstructs the conflicted life of one of the most paradoxical figures of ancient Jewish history, Tiberius Julius Alexander. Tiberius was the nephew of the renowned neo-Platonist philosopher Philo Judaeus and the son of the wealthiest man in the ancient Egyptian city of Alexandria. Unlike his father, a pious Jew and generous contributor to the temple in Jerusalem, Tiberius showed little interest in his Jewish heritage and soon became an apostate. He rose in the ranks of the Roman army and, ironically, he served as second in command to the future emperor Titus during one of the most catastrophic events of Jewish history, the siege of Jerusalem in 70 C.E., when the Roman army destroyed the city and its magnificent temple.
Piecing together the historical evidence for the life of Tiberius, Friedenberg skillfully brings to life Roman society in the Near East of the first century, with all its luxurious refinements, brutal realities, competing religious cults and social unrest. Readers with an interest in ancient history, Jewish culture and well-told stories will be fascinated by this page turner.