In his memoirs a Roman officer tells how he sired a bastard on a Jewess, how the child was eventually taken to be the Messiah who would lead the Jews in Judea against their Roman conquerors, and how the father finally faced his son in battle. Simeon ""the Messiah"" does not know his father was a Roman for he had been raised by a great Jewish scholar, Akiba. Simeon is killed: the Jewish rebellion is downed; and Akiba is publicly skinned alive. But... what has the ring of melodrama is sometimes true coin, and Hubler's erudition makes it convincing. His main fault however is his chief virtue. He saturates his pages with details of unfamiliar objects and antique politics. He is a teacher-novelist, or artist-didact. This was also evident in his last novel Trial and Triumph (p. 397) about Maimonides. In both books he is primarily concerned with the establishment and maintenance of the Jewish faith. He carries it off with heated philosophic dialogues, tactile description, a few carnal moments and tenable motivation... Scholarly crackerjack for tired historians.