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A noble Jewish prince fights to save his family from the rage of a madman - who happens to be the most powerful man on earth.

Ben-Hur - a bestseller in the 19th-century and one of the most popular stories of the 20th century - is poised for a comeback in the 21st. New adaptations of the story are appearing in film and TV, and all from a story that begged for a sequel but never received one.
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  • Charlton Heston as Ben-Hur
Thirty years have passed since Judah defeated his treacherous friend Messala in a fateful chariot race. After his dramatic conversion at the cross of Christ, Judah befriends Paul the Apostle, who encourages him and his wife Esther to use their connections to the Roman aristocracy and plant the seeds of Christianity in Rome.

Years later, with a thriving church planted in the capital city, Judah and Esther are weary of Rome and want to go home to Jerusalem to fill out their days. One errand remains.

Paul has been arrested for his missionary work, but has appealed his conviction to Caesar. Judah agrees to serve as his advocate and defend him in his trial. Then he and Esther will leave Rome for good.

But the three friends are heading into a storm. Occupying Caesar’s throne is Nero, the young emperor who is beginning to show a foreboding independence from his chief advisers – the honorable prefect Burrus and the famed philosopher Seneca. Against their counsel, Nero openly flaunts his unfaithfulness to his wife Octavia, then orders the assassination of his scheming mother Agrippina.

Emboldened by his success, Nero discards long-held Roman traditions by singing publicly, and then creates further scandal by announcing his intent to compete in an upcoming Olympiad. Seeing Judah’s name on a court docket, Nero remembers his legendary exploits as a charioteer and commands Judah to serve as his trainer, releasing Paul in the process.

Thrust unwillingly into Caesar’s court, Judah and Esther suddenly find themselves caught in the crossfire of Nero’s murderous ambition. Forced to secretly fight for the lives of Octavia and other innocents, Judah and Esther become a measuring rod of integrity for Burrus and Seneca as they struggle to decide whether or not to resist the Emperor.

As Nero’s megalomania grows, a circle of powerful conspirators plots to assassinate him. But they learn, along with Judah and Esther, that it is no simple thing to bring down the young Caesar.

It began as a simple wisp of thought back in seminary around 1990. While researching Nero to learn more of his brutality against the early Christians, I read from the first century historian Tacitus how Nero loved to drive the chariot. It was considered scandalous by the elite for an emperor to stoop to such base amusements, but Nero couldn’t shake it.

And the thought floated in. “What if an older Judah Ben-Hur were still in Rome, and Nero called on him to train him? And what if Judah were there when Paul sailed to Rome to stand before Nero? Better yet, what if Judah were the one to represent Paul before Caesar?”

One thought tumbled over another, and by 1995, the first draft of a completed screenplay was on my desk. And in between writing sermons and pastoring a church, I then set out to put the story into a novel, which was finished four years later.

Without even knowing what I was doing, I found agents for both the book and screenplay. I even carried on a brief correspondence with Charlton Heston before his illness set in. I am told the story got “very close” before Gladiator came out and – as I am told – sucked the oxygen out of “sword and sandal” movies.

But windows open and close in random ways in Hollywood. I remain very proud of this story, and bullish on its future. Perhaps in this age where Hollywood is rediscovering the Bible and the power of faith-friendly films, Ben-Hur: The Odyssey may yet live to fight another day.

“A thoroughly satisfying sequel to the classic book and movie.” ~ Lynn

“Sweeping epic of a world in need of God…Gripping tale.” ~ Alex

“The Suffering Church of the 21st century needs to know this story of the Suffering Church from the 1st century.” ~ Martin

“I was especially gratified to have met the apostle Paul as a man and a humble follower of Christ.” ~ Tom

“Moving tale where history and fiction are interlocked with love, lust, war and faith.” ~ Bob

“Couldn’t put it down.” ~ Paul

“Masterfully completes the story of the book of Acts. Seamlessly completes the saga of Ben-Hur.” ~ Judy

“If only Charlton Heston had lived to play this role!” ~ B.K.