First Light is the first in the A.D. Chronicles series. The story looks at a few main protagonists: Susanna bat Maccabee, who is being pressured to marry Demos bar Talmai but loves his younger brother Manean bar Talmai, Peniel the blind beggar boy (the blind beggar that Jesus healed), Marcus the Roman Centurion and Zadok the Chief Shepherd of Israel. Their actions and interactions revolve around Yeshua, and how their lives have been changed by him.
I feel that by using such a diverse cast of characters, the authors have managed to bring out life in Jerusalem more fully. From the 'high society' that Susanna and Manean move in, to the lowest of the low, Peniel a blind begger, life in Jerusalem is brought to life. Futhermore, the use of the Jewish spelling of the name helped me to remember to look at the same Bible stories with fresh eyes.
Of course, it goes to say that I really loved reading this book. All the characters were brought to life, and I liked how the authors gave characters like the blind beggar in the Bible a believable history. Needless to say, Peniel was my favourite character. His faith even in the midst of the bitterness of his mother and the apathy of his father was very touching, and I don't think I can ever read John 9:20-22, where his parents do not speak up for him, as I did in the past.
The only quibble I have with the book is the unrequited romance between Mary (the sister of Lazarus) and Marcus the Centurion. The supposed reason for this is due to her past as a prostitute, they got to know one another. But my understanding is that the Mary that was a prostitute and Mary the sister of Lazarus were two different people. But this is a very minor part of the book, and nothing happened between them.
Overall, I heartily recommend this book if you're into historical fiction. It's well-written and very enjoyable.