A Stray Drop of Blood

A Visibullis Story, 1

 Beautiful is a dangerous thing to be when one is unprotected. That is a lesson Abigail learns well when her master s son, Jason, takes her to his bed. Jason s mother, Ester, may have educated her as a daughter instead of a slave, his father, Cleopas, may have obeyed Hebrew law rather than Roman in the running of his household, but none of that matters to their son. At least, it doesn t until he has a child of his own on the way.

Over her seven years in the Visibullis household, Abigail has gotten accustomed to being a slave. She loves her fellow servants, she adores her mistress, and she respectes her master. She does not welcome change, neither when Jason decides she is better fit for a lover than a handmaid nor when he discoveres he loves her too much to leave her as anything but a wife. But she carries his child, so she can hardly argue. And maybe, given time, she could come to love him too….

Israel s unrest finds a home in her bosom, but their rebellion tears apart her world. Death descends with Barabbas s sword, and Abigail is determined to be there when he is handed the penalty for the crimes that destroyed her family. But when she ventureds to the trial, heavy with child and heavier still with hatred, it is not Barabbas that the crowd demands be crucified. Instead, it is the teacher Cleopas and Jason had begun to follow, the man from Nazareth that some call the Son of God….

She was born free, made a slave, married out of her bonds. But she never really knew freedom until she felt the fire of a stray drop of blood from a Jewish carpenter. She was disowned by Israel, despised by Rome, desired by all. Yet she never knew love until she received the smile of a stoic Roman noble.

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Discussion Questions

1.) Even as a child, Abigail exhibits a bitterness toward God, though she cannot deny his existence. Why is this her response to tragedy? How would you feel toward the Lord if you lost all you held dear?

2.) Abigail demonstrates pride by clinging to humility. What are some other surprising ways we show ourselves to be proud?

3.) Many of the characters respond to the tales of Jesus’ miracles by assuming them gross exaggerations. How do we, centuries after the fact, put our faith in what some call only stories?

4.) Ester has a problem separating her desires from what is best for those she loves. Do you encounter this? How do you make the decisions?

5.) Abigail makes a decision to keep her shame private so that her friends cannot get in trouble too. Have you ever been a situation like this? How would you respond if in Abigail’s position?

6.) Have you ever had split loyalties like Abigail did when faced with her feelings for Andrew and her sworn dedication to Jason?

7.) Can virtue be taught? (This is for all you Plato readers out there!)

8.) How would you defend the idea of one God and his Son to people who had been raised in a polytheist society?

9.) Do you feel Elizabeth had just cause to poison herself?

10.) If you discovered you were pregnant in Abigail’s situation, how would you react?

11.) The longer Jason is back in Jerusalem, the more he finds the covenant his parents made with God pulling on him. Do you believe that the prayers and dedication of parents can affect the faith of a child? How do you think this works in Jason’s life?

12.) Cleopas and Jason are the first to open their hearts to the truth preached by Jesus. Why do you think that is?

13.) What does Jason’s prayer during the uprising say about his character?

14.) Why does Ester retreat into herself?

15.) Abigail ventures to the trial seeking vengeance and instead runs into forgiveness. Has God ever surprised you by meeting you where you least expected it?

16.) Abigail and Titus both see the truth of Christ’s nature by feeling the power in his blood. How do you feel his power?

17.) Many amazing, miraculous things are recorded in the Gospels as happening during the hours of Jesus’ crucifixion. Which do you find the most awe-inspiring? The most shocking? The hardest to grasp?

18.) Have you ever witnessed a miracle? What is your immediate reaction? Disbelief? Awe? Praise? Questions?

19.) Abigail and Titus become friends because of shared experiences; they say several times that it gives them an equality that allows a relationship to grow. Do you feel the deepest relationships are founded on equality (as Aristotle says) or something else?

20.) Is a lie acceptable when it’s to keep someone safe?

21.) Abigail prays a version of the Lord’s Prayer that is reworded to come from her heart. How would you reword the prayer to be personal?

22.) They see the coming of the Holy Spirit as it is recorded in Acts, with tongues of flame over their heads. How have you seen the Spirit come into your life?

23.) Have you ever faltered and fallen into the same sins as before you came to faith? Why do you think this happened to Abigail and Titus?

24.) How do Christians live with sin? What do they tell themselves?

25.) It takes tragedy to bring Titus to his knees. Has God ever used a terrible event to get your attention?

26.) They choose not to blame the Lord for their loss, but to renew their faith in him. What would your response be in this situation?

27.) What do you think fuels Caius’s hatred of Abigail? How does God use his schemes for good?

28.) In the epilogue, they reference Plato’s Republic and point out how it is painful to step into the light of truth after living in the darkness for so long. Have you seen this?

Companion Guide

Because the research for this, my first published novel and first biblical work, was so involved, I took the time to compile what information I thought my readers might enjoy learning, both about the history and culture in the book, and a bit about my writing itself. If you’d like the Guide in either PDF or Doc form, please shoot me an email and I’ll send it to you.