Topics for Discussion
1. Why does Daniel not know from the start that Rosh is devious?
2. Were any of Daniel's crimes justifiable? Why might freeing Samson be justifiable while robbing the old man is not?
3. Discuss the character strengths of Simon, who gives up his business in order to follow Jesus; Joel, a good student who knows much of Holy Scripture by heart; Malthace, who seems to know what is in the hearts of others; and Rosh, who is charismatic but cynical. Which of these characters is the wisest?
4. Who is more courageous, bold Daniel or bookish Joel?
5. Do people today still rationalize their bad deeds the same way that Daniel and Rosh do? Describe some of their rationalizations.
6. What do you think of the novel's ending? Does Daniel get off too easily for all the hurt he has caused? Is his change of heart too quick a shift from bitterness to openness to be convincing?
7. Why does Speare include the character of the kindly, lonely soldier who befriends Leah?
8. Why would Speare make her main character so flawed? Were you put off or made uncomfortable by Daniel's personality?
9. If most of the Jews want them to leave, why do the Romans stay in Palestine?
10. What purpose does Nathan's death serve in the development of the story?