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Into the Unbounded Night

3.93  ·  Rating details ·  60 ratings  ·  32 reviews
When her village in Albion is sacked by the Roman general Vespasian, young Aislin is left without home and family. Determined to exact revenge, she travels to Rome, a sprawling city of wealth, decadence, and power. A “barbarian” in a “civilized” world, Aislin struggles to comprehend Roman ways. From a precarious hand-to-mouth existence on the streets, she becomes the mistr ...more
Paperback, 262 pages
Published September 1st 2020 by Regal House Publishing
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Average rating 3.93  · 
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Jan 25, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Into the Unbounded Night takes us to a time of ancient stones paving the way to the great temples. A time, when different ideologies rub shoulders leading to the birth of Judeo-Christian monotheism. It is also a time when accumulation of wealth and power leads to rebellion and destruction. With Kaplan’s gifted storytelling, the reader is transported into the ancient times of turmoil and history in the making.

The year is 40 C.E., on the island of Britannia, in the village of Albion. Fourteen-yea
Jul 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Mitchell James Kaplan is the gloriously talented writer of this dramatic, intense story of conflicting emperors, slaves, priests and exiles in a first century world whose roots and traditions are increasingly torn apart by the brutal rule of Rome. Men and women search for belief and reason, out of which will emerge a new Judaism after the destruction of Jerusalem’s Temple as well as the early beginnings of Christianity. A writer of enormous scope, compassion and poetry, Kaplan has written severa ...more
Apr 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing
An erudite rendering of a decisive time in history, seen through the eyes of Aislin, a young survivor of the invasion of Britannia by Vespasian. Elegant prose. Great storytelling. Complex characters, some of them iconic (St. Paul, Vespasian, Yohanan Ben Zakkai) who strive for meaning and faith in a world in turmoil. Apocalyptic, with a hint of magic. Poignant and layered. One of those novels that will stay with me.
Nov 05, 2020 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed the range and perspectives of this book.and thought it was thoughtfully written. I enjoyed learning about the faiths of the main characters and I thought it added depth to the story. It was very well written although I didn’t much care for its use of the present tense. Many thanks to Netgalley for an arc of this book.
Enthralling story of Aislin, a Briton; Yohanan, a Jewish copyist and scholar; Septimus, former Roman soldier turned fresco painter; and Vespasian, General, later emperor and how their lives intermingle. After her village is completely destroyed, Aislin and Septimus travel to Rome with the idea of revenge in her mind. Thinking she has been abandoned by Septimus on purpose, she becomes for a time mistress to an aristocrat after living on the streets. After bearing him a mentally-challenged son, sh ...more
Amy Bruno
Aug 31, 2020 rated it really liked it
Into the Unbounded Night is set around 64 A.D. and tells the story of Aislin and her life after her village is destroyed by the Roman General, Vespasian. She is taken hostage and held by Vespasian, where he treats her horribly. She escapes one day and runs into Septimus. What follows is Aislin's journey to Rome and then Jerusalem, and all of the adventure, danger, and people she meets along the way, including the apostle St. Paul.

"Remember, Aislin, love grows not in the pure soil of forgiveness
Sep 04, 2020 rated it liked it
In the year 40 C.E. Aislin lives a hardworking but honest life with her aunt Muirgheal.  They live in Albion on what is known as Britannia.  When Albion is conquered by the Roman General Vespasian, Aislin is taken hostage and her aunt dies for her village.  Used by Vespasian and discarded, Aislin vows vengeance.  While wandering, Aislin meets disgraced Roman soldier Septimus.  They become travelling companions and Septimus introduces Aislin to the city of Rome.  Aislin's introduction is brief as ...more
An interesting historical novel covering the period from 40 AD to the destruction of the Jewish temple in 70 AD. As a history, it is often fascinating and informative, moving from Britannia to Rome to Jerusalem, and involving Vespasian, Josephus, St. Paul, and others as characters. But as a novel, I often found the story to be, well, a little dull. Apparently this is a minority opinion, but to me, it felt more like an exercise to instruct the reader about the cultures and religious thinking of t ...more
Sep 03, 2020 rated it really liked it
Summary: Historical fiction set in the mid-first century AD in the Roman Empire, spanning conquests from Albion (Britannia), Carthage, and Jerusalem, and the center of power in Rome.

Imagine a narrative that connects the characters of Vespasian, Roman general and future emperor, Saul of Tarsus, and Yohanan ben Zakkai, the rabbi who escaped rebellious Jerusalem and established a center that preserved Judaism after the fall of the temple and Jerusalem. Throw in cameos by Stephen the Martyr, Lucanus
Sep 07, 2020 rated it really liked it
Thank you HFVBT for a complimentary copy. I voluntarily reviewed this book. All opinions expressed are my own.

Into The Unbounded Night
By: Mitchell James Kaplan


Into The Unbounded Night highlights a turbulent time in history through various unique perspectives. Aislin, Vespasian, Yohanan and Paulus are characters from different walks of life. They are separated by divergent cultures, beliefs, lifestyles and degrees of power and wealth. Around 64 A.D. Roman rule was brutally oppressiv
Sep 23, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Beginning and ending with the importance of a people's story, Into the Unbounded Night is richly researched and beautifully written, holding the reader enthralled throughout.

"In life there are guidelines, like well-worn paths, but nothing is certain and nothing is forever. A storm may come and wash out part of the trail, or grass may overrun it, and you'll have to find your way. That is when you must not lose courage." Ch.1

From life with her aunt Muirgheal, a renowned Celtic warrior, through th
Debbie Viscosi
May 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: all fiction readers
Romans are not known for kindness. They were methodical and violent. When the Romans attacked villages in Albion, they killed everyone. In one such village, Vespasian took a young girl hostage as he killed the inhabitants of the village. This young girl vowed vengeance. After being set free, she travels, hoping to find a new place to call home. Her adventures are myriad and show the difficulties of life and poverty during this time. She also experiences the warring factions of the Judeans and th ...more
Jack Mackey
Jul 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I don't typically read historical fiction, but a friend with an advanced copy recommended I read this. Overall, I thought it was an enjoyable read. The characters are compelling and realistic, and I particularly like Septimus and Vespasian. Vespasian does some horrible things, but the author does such a great job of portraying him as a real, flawed, person that you understand him rather than hate him.

The book is also very well balanced on the religious front; I never got the impression that any
Lillian Abensohn
May 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This sweeping novel begins among tribes in Brittania, moves through early Rome and ends in Jerusalem. The main characters reflect their vastly different cultures and experience colonization in a primal way even as they search for meaning. In this complex, fertile soil, the seeds of early Judaism and Christianity as well as mystical beliefs of the period play an important role. Into the Unbounded Night is written in a spare, lyrical style and is clearly based on thorough research; it is a moving, ...more
Zoe L.
Sep 09, 2020 added it
I went into this book expecting a wonderfully written historical fiction, and what I got was so much more. It was just so beautifully written and equal parts engrossing and engaging. It takes a deep dive into the psyche of humans and shows us at our best and our worst. There is a bit of history, a touch of faith, a dash of magical realism, and topping it off with a wonderful cast of characters.

Now, I mentioned the characters already, but I want to just go a little more in depth. We have the four
Sep 07, 2020 rated it really liked it
Into the Unbounded Night takes place in three places; first in a place the people call Albion that is being destroyed by a marauding army that calls the island Brittania. There we meet Aislin, a young girl under the care of her aunt. We are also introduced to Vespasian, the Roman general in charge of one of the legions conquering the land that modern times will know as England. Vespasian is as cruel as they come and he destroys anything he comes in contact with – all to the glory of Rome, of cou ...more
Aislin is a young girl in Albion (Britannia) whose village, and everyone she loves, are killed when Roman general Vespasian attacks her village. She is determined to get vengeance and ends up in Rome. There she manages to get a sort of vengeance and then her road leads to Jerusalem. While there, she meets a teacher called Yohanan.

There are quite a lot of characters and several points of views in the book. But it was interesting to see how the people’s stories intertwined through the book.

I’m not
Carly Howe
Aug 06, 2020 rated it really liked it
I typically would not read this type of book- historical fiction set in A.D. 64 in Rome. I received an ARC through a good reads giveaway. I was surprised how much I really enjoyed this story. The backdrop and setting were mesmerizing. The characters were fascinating and well developed. Thank you to the author for the ARC.
Glenn Stenquist
Jul 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Exciting and fascinating tale of coming into identity thru hardship and courage.
Frankie (Chicks, Rogues and Scandals)
There is a lot to like about this, the story has it’s complexities which really hook you and pull you further into the story, I’m not religious at all, but I was certainly swept up with the story, it opens the eyes and makes you think about certain aspects of the story. I’ve not read Mitchell James Kaplan’s work before, but I thoroughly enjoyed this introduction to his skilful and mesmerising writing.

I really liked the multiple character point of view, I liked getting to know each individual and
Aug 13, 2020 rated it really liked it
I won this from Goodreads.
A historical fiction book set 40 C.E. It is well written and mesmerizing. You follow three main characters and see how their lives intertwine. From the Roman Empire, slaves, scholars, and ordinary people, this book will take you on an adventure of the ancient past.

Throughout this book, Aislin's, Faolan's, Vespasian's and Yohanan's lives intertwine in unexpected ways that shed light on colonization and it's discontents.
Sep 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Look no further for riveting historical fiction. This wonderful novel overflows with captivating storytelling and gorgeous (often lyrical) prose. Mitchell James Kaplan is a master at his craft and admired for his meticulous research. His unique way of blending ancient history, lore, and the complex entanglements of his characters makes for a book to be savored. Highly recommended
Sep 03, 2020 rated it really liked it
See my review at Reading World ...more
Indie Pereira
May 24, 2020 rated it liked it
Into the Unbounded Night is historical fiction set in the Roman Empire during the New Testament and Jewish second temple era. The author interweaves the historical setting and characters throughout the novel. Into the Unbounded Night's greatest strength as a novel also becomes its greatest flaw. The author, Mitchell James Kaplan, has done his homework, weaving in history, historical characters, and the theologies of Christianity, Judaism, and Roman religion in ways that are often lyrical and lov ...more
Nikita Wells
Feb 12, 2021 rated it did not like it
I recieved this book through a Goodreads giveaway and was so excited about winning a book! However, when I started reading, I was horrified at the sexually graphic depictions the author used. Unspeakable gore, and not to mention pagan rites from the beginning of the book. I DID NOT FINISH THIS BOOK, it was far too gross. Ashamed this was labelled as a "Christian" book. This one made it way to the trash can fast, and in shreds. Abominable, and I wouldn't recommend to anyone. ...more
David Petray
A Bit Too Much Scholastically

Okay read. I did learn more about the culture, religion and beliefs of 1st Century AD Britains, Judeans and Romans. But the writing is turgid and unnecessarily complex. The ideas were simple enough but the author dragged the stories using the most obtuse language possible. If you like action then avoid this book. If you’re looking to expand your knowledge, then this book is for you.
Polly Krize
Sep 21, 2020 rated it liked it
I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

The story of Aislin, a young survivor of the invasion of Britannia by Vespasian. Discarded as a slave, she meets Septimus a Roman soldier, who guides her to Rome. Despite many characters, this is a fine look at the Rome of the first century A.D.
Jan Marshall
Mar 29, 2021 rated it it was ok
I think the author tried to tell too many stories in a relatively short book. So there were holes in all of them. No consistent storyline. There were facts thrown in without any background or explanation. Add some unbelievable things plus some minor editing problems and you get a book that could be illuminating about the time period but instead is very unsatisfying.
Gordon Paisley
Review to follow soon.
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Mitchell James Kaplan is a cum laude graduate of Yale University, where he won the Paine Memorial Prize. His first mentor was author William Styron. Following college, he lived in Paris and Southern California. Currently he lives in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia.

​Mitchell James Kaplan's 2010 novel, By Fire, By Water, won numerous literary awards both domestically and abroad. Into The Unbou

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