The pages of history are turned back to Palestine over 100 years before the birth of Jesus Christ. The story teller is Simon ben Mattathias, older brother of that Judas known as the Maccabee, who led the revolt against the Syrians which gave Israel its independence, an independence maintained for a span of years despite the repeated assaults of the great powers greedy for the fertile land. Simon considered himself the least of the five brothers; he was the judge, the organizer of life for peace not war; but with his father, slow to anger but of great wrath, who brought into being the first recorded ""underground"" -- making a pattern for future peasant guerillas, and his stalwart brothers, he cemented the unwarlike, peace-loving people into a power that defeated the Greek mercenaries, the massed Syrian troops, again and yet again. It is an absorbing story- this story of how hatred against the Jews by their overlords brought about the destruction of Jerusalem, and how the power of a faith, the power of belief in their right to bend the knee to no one, the power of righteousness won over material weapons. It is a story that Jews and Christians alike will find arresting. A book that wont sell itself- but that deserves to be widely read.