Caroline Friday

Caroline Friday is a novelist and award winning screenwriter with several film projects in development for both television and theatrical distribution. Her first novel, The River Flows, will be published by Thomas Nelson in the spring of 2011. She is also a 2008 Kairos Screenwriting Winner for spiritually uplifting screenplays, sponsored by the John Templeton Foundation. Caroline currently serves as EVP of Sixth Day Media, LLC, a film finance and production company headquartered in the Atlanta area. She lives in Marietta, Georgia, with her husband and three children and can be found at

The Mark of the Lion Series

by Francine Rivers

A Voice In The WindThe Mark of the Lion series consists of three books: A Voice in the Wind, An Echo in the Darkness, and As Sure as the Dawn. A fascinating tale that is a combination of One Night with the King, Gladiator, and the HBO miniseries Rome (but without the R-rated elements), this compelling drama focuses on the life of Hadassah, a young Jewish Christian slave who is brought to Rome after the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70. Hadassah is pure and sweet and brings her newfound faith in God to the wealthy Valerian household, where she serves the beautiful Julia Valerian.An Echo In The Darkness Despite being surrounded by the decadent, immorality of Roman culture, Hadassah draws strength from her faith and impacts the lives of every member of the family, particularly Julia’s handsome brother, Marcus. She wins his heart, but convinces him to restrain his passion out of respect for her beliefs—she is a Christian and cannot be united with an unbeliever. It is this tension between the two that keeps the story moving forward so that the pages practically turn themselves. Their relationship paints a picture of the power of the Roman world battling against the gentle, childlike faith in the Christian God.

As Sure As The DawnAdded to the romantic thread of Hadassah and Marcus is the story of Atretes, a Germanic tribal prince, who is captured and brought to Rome as a gladiator. Wildly handsome and strong, Atretes wins the favor of the arena crowds, as well as the affections of Julia Valerian. Bent on revenge, he refuses to embrace the power and fame of being an undefeated fighter, opting instead to keep his heart hardened and cold. But through his trysts with Julia, he encounters Hadassah and sees in her the hope of something beyond what Rome has to offer.

With the powerful love story, political and societal intrigue, not to mention the blood and gore, this story has all the makings of a wonderful, compelling TV miniseries. The lavish Roman setting of wealth and splendor—from the hair and clothing, to the furniture and architecture, even the abundance of various food and drink—adds a rich texture to the story, providing a beautiful backdrop for the characters to play out their destinies. And of course, the scenes in the arena, including chariot racing, sword fighting, and battles with lions and other wild beasts, would satisfy the most blood-thirsty of television viewers. But it is the consistent theme of faith in God and Messiah prevailing in even the most unlikely of circumstances that gives the story its heart. Even in an opulent culture that existed thousands of years ago, money, fame, and power were insufficient to bring the joy and fulfillment to life that are embodied in the life of a sincere Christian. The light of truth that Hadassah brings to everyone she encounters is what gives her the ultimate power—for in her spirit, she bears the mark of the lion of the tribe of Judah.

I would think an epic story like this could attract the attention of the top directors in Hollywood, as well as an all-star A-list cast, provided the Christian themes were presented truthfully and not in a heavy-handed manner. Because of the embodiment of history, extravagant sets, and special effects, there is no reason a secular audience wouldn’t fall in love with this story like they did Russell Crowe’s Gladiator. In fact, this could be a classic shown to generations to come—and even in schools—as an excellent picture of what Roman life was like. It would also introduce this fabulous series to the next generation of readers, both Christian and secular alike, and to all the other works written by the great Francine Rivers.

For those of you out there who haven’t picked up this series because of the complexity of the story or the number of pages, don’t wait for the miniseries—read it now. But make sure you have all three books on hand or you will deeply regret it! The only time I remember racing to the library before the doors closed was after I finished book one in this series. It is a treasure that certainly deserves all the best that Hollywood has to offer.