The first in the "Mark of the Lion" series of inspirational fiction, this historical romance set in Rome about 100 C.E. is the story of Hadassah, a steadfastly Christian slave girl and sole survivor of her family, who is sold into slavery to the Valerian family. She serves as a maid to Julia, a young woman who makes several unfortunate and unhappy marriages. Simultaneously, Atretes, a captured soldier from Germania, is forced to become a gladiator. This is the time of Rome's decline; the decadence is well described as Christians are fed to lions while large crowds watch and cheer. Hadassah attempts to use her faith to influence events around her and the family, even though they worship Roman gods and are skeptical about Christianity. Richard Ferrone is experienced and polished; his reading is smooth and unobtrusive. Recommended for all libraries where inspirational fiction is popular.-Mary Knapp, Madison P.L., WI Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.