Cry For Jerusalem [Historical Fiction]

CRY FOR JERUSALEM Historical Fiction Book Series

An epic tale, Book One, Two, Three, and Four are available now. Published by Stadia Books:

“…vividly and intelligently depicted… the plot is as gripping as it is historically edifying, remarkably authentic, and rigorously researched. An impressive blend of historical portrayal and dramatic fiction.”

–Kirkus Reviews

One of our historical fiction projects working with the author, Dr. Ward Sanford: A series of four novels covering the seven years leading up to the destruction of Jerusalem and its Temple by the Roman Empire in 70 CE. —Dennis Lowery

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“A thorough look at the chaotic era leading up to the fall of Jerusalem. Well-researched and described as if the author had personal experience in the time and places. He paints the settings in great detail, making it easy to picture the action. This detail does slow the story, but this is not a quick light read, but rather a look at the powers and influences at play while told in the context of a fiction story. In the genre of historical fiction, it leans heavier on the historical than the fiction. Character development was spot on. I appreciated the growth that was discernable in several of the main players. I’m looking forward to the second book.” –Lanita R., Canada

“I really did not know what to expect with this book. But it is a period in history that I find interesting, so I gave it a shot. When I started I thought it might be a dry history book, but it is fascinating. The characters come to life and the setting is vivid. Such a pleasant surprise. A really good read. I’m a little bummed I can’t find anything else by Sanford. Hopefully this won’t be the last thing he writes.” –Amazon Customer

“Yosef ben Matthias, a Jewish scholar, is tasked with traveling from Jerusalem to Rome as a representative of the Sanhedrin. He plans to petition the Roman authorities to release Jewish prisoners awaiting trial. Yosef is apprehensive about the dangerous journey but also excited to see Rome, long impressed by the discipline and sophisticated organization of those who rule it. He travels by sea, but the ship that conveys him is waylaid by a powerful storm, and he ends up floating precariously in shark-infested waters on a wooden plank. He manages to survive and, with the help of two passengers he befriends—Nicanor, a veteran Roman soldier, and Sayid, a Syrian boy—saves the life of Lady Cleopatra, a noblewoman promised in marriage to Gessius Florus, a prominent quaestor and tax collector. The three rescuers are rewarded for their parts in saving Cleopatra, whose best friend, Poppaea Augusta Sabina, is married to Emperor Nero. In this first installment of a series, Yosef comes to realize what a tinderbox the political situation has become. As Roman leaders become increasingly authoritarian and hungry for tax proceeds, Jewish militancy increases, setting the stage for a brutal confrontation, a historical predicament vividly and intelligently depicted by Sanford. And Nero, looking for an excuse to rebuild Rome, raise taxes, and consolidate his power, takes Florus’ advice to burn the city to the ground, starting the “most extensive and destructive fire that Rome had ever experienced.” The plot is as gripping as it is historically edifying, remarkably authentic, and rigorously researched. At its conclusion, readers will be left impatient for the book’s sequel. An impressive blend of historical portrayal and dramatic fiction.” —Kirkus Reviews, about Book One

“Fascinating fact-filled historical account. Excellently written action packed with characters that participate in the events leading to Jerusalem’s destruction in the year 70. You will not be able to put it down.” –Elmer Landis

“Great read! Really enjoyed the characters and the historical time line. Can’t wait for the next one!” –Stephanie Maye

“This is an excellent read. Ward Sanford’s story, “Cry for Jerusalem…Resisting Tyranny” is a very well-researched, highly evocative, and a richly imagined portrait of the period. It is a fascinating read, and one that will long be remembered in the imagination of the reader.” –Michael Kamandulis

“A wonderful read! Keeps you riveted from beginning to end. I can’t wait until the next book comes out.” –Dennis Karp

“In this historical novel set in the first century, the lives of four unlikely friends are threatened by the gathering war between Emperor Nero’s Roman Empire and the Jewish population in Jerusalem. Nero has nearly bankrupted Rome as a consequence of relentless prodigality, diminishing the empire’s power and sending many of its provinces into mutinous discontent. His devious plan is to manufacture a war with the restive Jewish population—especially in Jerusalem—in order to plunder its treasury, and he’s prepared to deceive his own generals in order to accomplish this. In this second installment of a four-volume series, Sanford deftly depicts the historical conflict by chronicling four intersecting lives. All of these characters meet by sheer happenstance but form a potent bond: Cleopatra; Nicanor, a Roman centurion; Sayid, a Roman solider in Nicanor’s legion; and Yosef, the military commander in charge of Galilee. Nicanor participates in a major loss against the rebels at Beth Horon under the leadership of Cestius Gallus, who entrusts the centurion with a packet of documents substantiating his suspicions that his campaign was purposely sabotaged by his own advisers. Meanwhile, Yosef tries to unite Galilee to oppose the inevitable Roman invasion but is despondent that his own people visit so much violence upon themselves, an inner conflict subtly portrayed by the author: “Yosef did not know who he hated more for what had happened—the Romans that had pushed the situation in Judea to this point or his own people who, for selfish reasons, had killed the innocent or let them be killed. They were driving them all toward inevitable death and destruction.” Sanford’s historical rigor is impressive and his account of the age’s troubles, nimbly nuanced, unburdened by any calcified moral strictures. One caveat: For readers unfamiliar with the series opener, this will be a difficult (though not impossible) novel to follow. But the sequel is a captivating treat for those who enjoyed the book’s predecessor. A thrilling blend of powerful emotional drama and meticulous historical scholarship.”

Kirkus Reviews, about Book Two

Was it fate, destiny, or some divine plan that brought four very different travelers together in their struggle to survive what should have been a routine trip to Rome?

These new friends and their family members played pivotal roles at a focal point in the history of Western Civilization.

Winds from the west were carrying the embers born out of the great fire in Rome, threatening to reignite in Judea and create a conflict that would forever change the world for Jews and Christians.

In this first novel of the series, the Jewish rebellion begins in a backdrop of secret tunnels and assassins—the dreaded Sicarii could strike faster than lightning and blend back into the crowd just as quickly. Even hardened Roman mercenaries were no match for them.

In between the known historical events, there’s the story of the people involved. You get to meet them in Cry for Jerusalem.

Here’s what other readers say about Book One:

I was so excited to get a chance to review this new story before publication. As a Christian who has studied the Bible a great deal, I have often been compelled to search out extra-biblical references to this pivotal period of ancient history. My personal preference as an avid read is novels, so the idea of an historical novel connecting my passion for this period in our past with my love of a compelling story was exciting.

“Ward weaves an amazing tale from the perspective of a first-century observer. He connects history, geography and characters from our past into a story of adventure, danger, intrigue and deception. He takes us on a journey throughout the Middle East from the dangers on the high seas, to the secret meetings of Roman officials and Jewish leaders, to the average person living through these tumultuous times.

“I highly recommend this book and I personally look forward to his next installment!”

Paul Patti

“From the beginning, this book had me. The storyline has everything you might want in a good read. It has intrigue, great plot, perceptive character development, romance, epic themes of good and evil, all woven into a backdrop of history that is brought to life through the characters in this book.

“After a recent visit to Israel, this story had me reliving the experience of walking these lands with new eyes to see and feel what this great drama in history may have been like.

“I am eagerly anticipating the next book in the series.”


Great history lesson with intriguing character development. I loved it and believe it’s definitely worth a read. The story grows on you as the characters develop living in this high drama time period.

Volner S. Robertson

I was delighted to have the opportunity to read this book ahead of its delivery to Amazon. I’m an avid reader but have not typically been a fan of historical fiction, but this book absolutely captivated me from the first chapter. I couldn’t put it down. The characters are interesting and complex, the scene is fascinating (right before the fall of the temple and Jerusalem), the story is engaging, the situations very real… so good!


I really enjoyed reading this book! The author successfully immerses you not only in the historical details of the time period he writes about, he also draws you into the day-to-day lives of the people involved. As I read about Yosef, his brother Matthew, and his sister Miriam, I began to feel as if I, too, was experiencing what they were experiencing in the tense circumstances they were living – rooting for the “good” guys and hoping for the defeat of the “bad”. I eagerly await Book 2 in this series to see how the battle for Jerusalem continues to make heroes out of ordinary men and women who are passionate to protect their beloved city.

Susan Wood

“Very compelling story. It’s a very interesting story. I loved all the characters. It is hard sometimes to realize how it really WAS back then. We are so removed from that time, and yet as Christians, we know that we have our roots in Israel, and this is really what it was like. Ward has great characters, fictional though they be, there were people then just like Yosef, Cleo, and the others. I highly recommend this book to everyone who wants to know more about Israel and about the Christian faith.”