Tyndale House, the publisher of the Left Behind books, the megaselling Christian series about the end times, now presents a new series with a very different interpretation of biblical prophecy. Christian radio-show host Hanegraaff and bestselling CBA novelist Brouwer take readers back to the time of Nero in the first century. As the Roman Empire ruthlessly persecutes Christians, the novel's warrior-hero, Vitas, tries to defend them. But even Vitas can't prevent the destruction of the Jewish Temple-the historical event that sits at the center of this novel. Hanegraaff and Brouwer posit that the Book of Revelation, in code, predicted Roman persecution and the Temple's fall; subsequent novels in the series presumably will walk readers through the rest of Revelation, tying historical events to biblical prophecy. This is, to be sure, middle-brow genre fiction, and not an especially shining specimen thereof. The prose is plodding, with far too many dramatic sentence fragments and a conventional plot. The dialogue tends toward the unsubtly didactic ("`Jesus, then, uses this rich symbolism?' Darda nodded.... `You said John was obviously educated. Can you make any other guesses about him?' `John verges on genius.' ") Despite the series' many flaws, readers who are hungry for apocalyptic fiction may embrace it, though it remains to be seen whether they'll find a first-century apocalypse as gripping as Left Behind's 21st-century one. (Oct.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.