Some things from the start of the book:
Reading about the 3 Wise men from a different point of view is interesting. The Egyptian is Balthasar, The Greek is Gaspar, and the Hindoo (their spelling) is Melchior. Each individually saw the star and heard a voice tell them to seek the Christ-child that was to be born. They met at the place where the star and prophecy directed them, and each told their own story of how they came to be there.
As they began to get closer to Bethlehem, they asked those that they passed where they could find the Christ-child. The following was the general response:
pg 39 –
“Nobody knows. They are said to be Persians–wise men who talk with the stars–prophets, it may be, like
Elijah and Jeremiah.”
“What do they mean by King of the Jews?”
“The Christ, and that he is just born.”
One of the women laughed, and resumed her work, saying, ‘Well, when I see him I will believe.”
Another followed her example: “And I–well, when I see him raise the dead, I will believe.”
A third said, quietly, “He has been a long time promised. It will be enough for me to see him heal one leper.”
And the party sat talking until the night came, and, with the help of the frosty air, drove them home.
They do find him, in a manger, with many followers who joined them on their quest, bowing down to worship their new King.
Book two moves ahead 21 years, and focuses on young Judah, and his friend Messala, gone for 5 years and returning a Roman. Judah can no longer tolerate Messala, who now speaks of the Jewish beliefs as if they are a joke.
Strictly by accident, Judah knocks a Roman Governor off from his horse, and this is taken as an attempt on his life. With his whole household, including his mother and sister, Tirzah, in mortal danger, he begs for their mercy as he is taken prisoner. It is at this point that we notice the change in Judah, as he becomes a man.