The premise is what caught my attention: a group of Romans conspire to create a new religion (Christianity) to save the Roman Republic from collapse and civil war. The way that the author presents the premise makes it entirely believable. It’s an interesting hypothesis about the origin of Christianity.
The biggest strength of this book is the amount of research that went into it. I also appreciate that it does not have a pro-Christian or anti-Christian stance. The author focuses on history and does not pass judgment on the characters’ beliefs or actions.
Unfortunately, the premise is the only thing that I enjoyed about Propositum.
I read the majority of the novel and then skimmed the end because I lost interest.
The author assumes that the reader has background knowledge of Roman history and The Bible.
I don’t know very much about either, so I was slightly confused at times.
To me, this book feels more like a summary of events than a novel. The author skims the surface of scenes and tells the reader what is happening rather than getting deep into the scenes and immersing the reader in the novel’s world. This creates a lot of distance between the reader and the story.
Because of this distance, the characters do not feel like real people. I had a hard time caring about them. The reader does not get to see much of their personalities, and their backstories are sparse. They spend a lot of time sitting around and talking about their plans. Most of their discussions are for the sole benefit of the reader and not for the benefit of the plot/characters. I ended up frustrated because I really wanted the characters to do
something. Instead, I mostly saw them talk. Summarizing events in dialogue instead of showing them in scene gives the book a lack of depth, action, and tension.
I was also slightly disappointed by the setting. It had the potential to be awesome, but it needed more development and concrete details.Propositum
has a fascinating premise, but the execution and the editing (tons of typos) could have been better.