Author: Rob Seabrook
Genre: Biblical Fiction
Release Date: November 17, 2021
Publisher: Malcolm Down Publishing
Beneath the Tamarisk Tree is a novel from first time author, Rob Seabrook, and is a great read for Lent.
It is a novel based on the life of the Penitent Thief, a character mentioned so briefly in the Bible. But his encounter with Jesus offers great insight into the scale of the sacrifice that Jesus made and the promise of eternal life that is freely available to everyone who believes.
Dismas awakes in heaven, baffled as to why; amazed by the wonder of his new surroundings. He is welcomed by Jesus and for the first time in his short, wretched life he begins to discover some of the normal human feelings and emotions that had been buried and suppressed by a life lived on the streets.
As he reflects on his past he is healed and restored, learning that he is no different to anyone else – created special and unique by a forgiving Father; saved, healed and restored by a compassionate Son and filled with love and joy by the presence of the Holy Spirit.
Reviewer: Rick Norris
Beneath the Tamarisk Tree, the story of a thief’s redemption is a joy to read. The author, Rob Seabrook, takes a small scene in the Bible and artistically crafts a fictional biography.
Dismas, the Penitent Thief, awakes in heaven, baffled, and amazed by the wonder of his new surroundings. He is welcomed by Jesus and recounts his story to him. As Dismas reflects on his past, he struggles to see the reason why he has been rescued and brought into paradise. But as his mind is renewed, he discovers that he is no different than anyone else – created special and unique by a forgiving Father, saved, healed, and restored by a compassionate Son, and filled with love and joy by the presence of the Holy Spirit. Dismas learns about mercy, grace, and forgiveness.
What makes this story so interesting is that Seabrook weaves in biblical narratives with common social issues among those who turn to a life of crime. His flashbacks into the main character’s life, starting with his childhood, not only push the message of redemption forward but alert us to the unfortunate fact that poverty often leads one toward a heartbreaking life with a tragic ending.
The author does a good job of world-building in heaven, trying to let the reader experience a joy that is not common on Earth. For example, he uses biblical color terms (cited in Ezekiel and Revelation) to describe a flowing river: “Unlike the streams he had known before with dirt or pebbles running along their bed, he could see thousands of lustrous stones that glistened and shone. Gemstones of all colors—jasper, diamonds, emeralds, topaz, crystals. He had never seen such riches.”
I also liked his use of all five senses when describing the characters’ feelings, especially projecting the pain of the main character, Dismas. I recommend this book to any reader who likes Christian Fiction and is concerned about social justice.
Lastly, in the end, the author adds discussion questions, broken out by chapter. This is interesting in that it combines the fiction and non-fiction aspects of the book—a good attempt to offer readers a glimpse into the meaning of the Gospel.
I received a review copy courtesy of the author through Interviews & Reviews for my honest opinion.
Reviewer: Anna Bottoms
Beneath the Tamarisk Tree is a unique and wonderful depiction of heaven from the eyes of a man who hung on the cross at Jesus’s right hand.
The intertwined story of Ditmas’s life before his crucifixion—rejection, and struggles, being unworthy of the love of his earthly father—juxtaposed with his experience of heaven—accepted and at peace, worthy of the love of his Heavenly Father—was perfectly balanced, tugged at my heartstrings, and painted a beautiful picture of salvation.
Ditmas’s experience of heaven differs from what I’ve read in most other books. His time with Jesus as they walked and talked together was so sweet and real it left a feeling of hope for eternity.
This book was impactful and begs to be read by Christians and non-Christians alike.
I was given a copy of this book courtesy of the author through Interviews & Reviews. This is my own opinion of the book.
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