The book is outstanding! It is engagingly written from Pontius Pilate’s vantage point, starting with Pilate’s political life in Rome and appointment as prefect in Judea (AD 26) and continuing through the murder of Jesus (33 by Maier’s calculation, which is feasible though many scholars prefer 30), death of Tiberius (37), assassination of Caligula (41), and beginning of the reign of Claudius (41-54). The overall plot and every proper name used in the book is historically accurate, and Maier fills in this factual skeleton with colorful fictional details. It reconstructs many events described in the Gospels and Acts from the viewpoint of an educated, unbelieving Roman prefect.
God used this book to engage our minds even more with the Greco-Roman and Jewish history of NT times in a way that has helped us understand the NT better. It also has deepened our understanding of why Paul calls the gospel offensive foolishness to non-Christians (1 Corinthians 1). Praise God for a historically rooted faith and historically reliable revelation.
Paul L. Maier, The Flames of Rome (Doubleday, 1981; Kregel, 1991), 444 pp.