Petra by T.L. Higley is the first book in the Lost Cities series. Cassia takes her young son, Alexander, and heads to Petra, the home of her late husband's family in the hopes of finding a place for them both. Instead she discovers that Alexander is the heir to the throne and immediately in mortal danger from the queen, Hagiru, who wants her son to be the new king, and Hagiru has allied herself with the dark gods of the city in order to assure her son's accession. The only people in town who help Cassia is the small community of Christians led by wealthy Malik. Julian has fled from his home in Rome after the death of his fiance in the arena because of his faith in Jesus. He just wants to blend into the crowd, but his attraction to Cassia and desire to help her will test his faith more than he's ever faced. Higley excels at recreating ancient cultures, as in her former Seven Wonders series, and her description of Petra really brings the city to life. It's fascinating reading about the days of early Christianity, especially outside of Jerusalem. The novel is filled with suspense as to Alexander's fate, romance between Cassia and Julian, and faith as Cassia learns about Jesus and Julian learns what it means to be a leader, so there is really something for every reader.
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