I first read The Robe when I was about fourteen years old and have wanted to re-read for over 40 years, but somehow it just never happened. Then my dear friend Jill was seriously injured in a snowmobiling accident last Spring and she and I decided to read it out loud together when I came to visit during her long convalescence. We both loved it!
Marcellus is a promising Roman tribune from a prominent family who accidentally humiliates Caesar’s nephew in public. Suddenly, Marcellus, and his faithful Greek slave Demetrius, find themselves banished to a disorderly and murderous Roman military post in Palestine. On their first tour through Jerusalem they are assigned to stand guard at the trial and crucifixion of an unusual Jewish man. Marcellus is horrified at the cruelty of what he witnesses and when he ends up winning the robe of Jesus the Christ, he is changed forever. But where can a path of Christian discipleship lead a young Roman soldier in 33 AD?
This is a challenging, but magnificent classic Christian novel. I was pleased and impressed that I read it as a young high school student! It reconfirmed to me that a reader can thoroughly enjoy a book without understanding all of the vocabulary. This is true for children (or adults) of all ages. Jill and I — both advanced readers — found ourselves googling quite a few words as we read along, but that didn’t diminish the incredible story even with those occasional interruptions.
A movie version starring Richard Burton and Jean Simmons is available on DVD and has been popular since 1953.
High School Reading Level, 528 pages, Christianity, Published in 1942.