The Thief

A Novel

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My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?

Nissa is a Jewish woman with a sharp tongue and no hope of marriage. Abandoned by the God she once loved, her only recourse is to depend upon Mouse, the best thief in Jerusalem, to keep her blind brother, Cedron, fed and the landlord satisfied.

Longinus is a Roman centurion haunted by death and failure and is desperate to escape the accursed Judean province. Accepting a wager that will get him away from the aggravating Jews and their threats of revolt, he sets out to catch the thieves harassing the marketplace.

When a controversial teacher miraculously heals Cedron, Nissa hopes for freedom from her life of lies. But the supposed miracle brings only more misfortune, and Longinus, seeking to learn more about the mysterious healer, finds himself drawn instead to Nissa, whose secret will determine the course of both their futures.

Cedron, Longinus, and Nissa are unexpectedly caught up in the arrest, trial, and crucifixion of Jesus. As danger closes in on them from every side, they must decide if the love and redemption Jesus offers is true or just another false promise. How can the so-called Messiah save them from their shackles, when he cannot even save himself?
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  • Howard Books | 
  • 368 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781451689105 | 
  • February 2014
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Read an Excerpt

The Thief Chapter 1


MOUSE DARTED THROUGH the crowded streets of Jerusalem. His name suited him. Small and drab, he fled from one street corner to the next as though stalked by an unseen predator. Dirt and ash streaked his face, and the tatter of wool covering his head was no less filthy. Both his worn tunic and the cloak over it looked like they had been made for a man twice his size.

Not a head turned as he zigzagged around caravans, street vendors, and... see more

Reading Group Guide

This reading group guide for The Thief includes an introduction, discussion questions, ideas for enhancing your book club, and a Q&A with author Stephanie Landsem. The suggested questions are intended to help your reading group find new and interesting angles and topics for your discussion. We hope that these ideas will enrich your conversation and increase your enjoyment of the book.


Introduction

The second book in The Living Water Series, The Thief tells the story of two unlikely friends—a Roman centurion and a poor Jewish girl living in first-century Jerusalem during the height of Jesus’ ministry. Longinus, the Roman centurion, feels aimless in the wake of his friend’s tragic death, while Nissa is overwhelmed by guilt about her secret life as a thief. Together they witness Jesus restore sight to Nissa’s blind brother, and increasingly find themselves drawn toward this healer and prophet. Could Jesus be the answer to their prayers?

Topics & Questions for Discussion

1. “You aren’t worth dying for, Mouse. Nobody is” (p. 12). Discuss this first introduction to Mouse and Dismas, the two best thieves in Jerusalem. How would you characterize them? How does this statement foreshadow later events in the story? Do you think it’s possible to be both a “good” and “bad” person? Use examples from the story and your own lif see more

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