Title: Ben-Hur by Lew Wallace, edited by Carol Wallace
Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.
Released on: July 19, 2016
Pages: 432 Pages (Paperback)
Blurb: As one of the bestselling stories of all time, Lew Wallace’s Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ has captivated and enthralled millions around the world―both in print and on the big screen. Now Lew’s great-great-granddaughter has taken the old-fashioned prose of this classic novel and breathed new life into it for today’s audience.
Coming to theaters in August 2016 as Ben-Hur, a major motion picture from MGM and Paramount studios, the story follows Judah Ben-Hur, a Jewish nobleman whose childhood friend Messala betrays him. Accused of trying to murder the new Roman governor in Jerusalem, Judah is sentenced to the galley ships and vows to seek revenge against the Romans and Messala. But a chance encounter with a carpenter from Nazareth sets Judah on a different path.
Rediscover the intrigue, romance, and tragedy in this thrilling adventure.
Also included: the inspiring story-behind-the-story of Lew Wallace―Indiana lawyer, author, and Civil War general.
**Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
My Take: I had never read the book, nor seen any of the movies of Ben-Hur prior to my encounter with this copy of the book so there is no frame of reference toward anything already existing. This review is given with a fresh mind and a new set of eyes to the story and the characters. I could instantly understand how this book was beloved and popular for so long. It has plenty of action sequences and some moments of high tension running through, even in the early chapters of the book. As Carol mentions in the introduction to the book, the iconic scene of the chariot race is actually only a small scene in the book, one that takes place about 2/3 of the way through the book. Yet that scene was quite delightful and I could instantly understand how it was so pivotal for both a book and a film of this story.
The brief moment in the early part of the book, where Judah is being taken away to the galley, was an interesting sequence that led to his first noted encounter with Christ. It would be many years before Christ would return into the story, yet the story being told here is of Judah Ben-Hur. It isn’t really until the final part where his story meets the story of Christ, but that final part was impressive and kept me reading page after page until I reached that conclusion. Truly, it was impossible to set down near the end, and as a whole this was a book that probably could be finished in one sitting on a rainy day. It was that good.
Having never read the original language in the book (it was written in 1880), I cannot comment on how this version differs from the original. Carol did mention that she updated the language throughout the book, and it was definitely a very readable version. Anyone today should have little problem picking up this book and reading it, and it never felt outdated or antiquated.
Overall this was a fun and enjoyable read. I’ve already begun recommending it to some people, and would encourage everyone to pick up a copy and read the book. Especially if you end up seeing the new movie. The story of Judah Ben-Hur is fascinating, full of action sequences and interesting twists to the plot along the way. You won’t regret reading this one.