This book was assigned reading for a scripture in context course I took back in seminary, where we studied the ancient near eastern culture. The first 500 pages of this story cover the time from early human history up to the time of Jesus. Michener is a master storyteller, as each chapter tells a different story at a different time, but the stories are also tied together well enough to make an interesting narrative.
Here’s my confession – only the first 500 pages were assigned. After all, the course was studying the context of scripture and once we got past 500 the rest of the story was not really relevant to the topic. But I liked it so much, I kept reading and eventually finished the whole thing! I’ve gone on to read other Michener books, but this one remains my favorite. Its a perfect mix of history and fiction, enjoyable and educational.