Brett Armstrong. Destitutio Quod Remissio. Westbow, 2015, See here to purchase the book.
Destitutio Quod Remissio is set during the reign of Diocletian during the third century C.E. Marcus was an imperial Senator. He was discontent with paganism and was spiritually exploring, perusing his copies of the letters of Paul. Then, he met Benjamin, an architect. Benjamin was working for Marcus on a project at Marcus’ home, and Benjamin, a Christian, shared the Gospel with Marcus. Marcus became a Christian, and that precipitated unfortunate events in Marcus’ life. Marcus’ home is burned, and his wife is killed (or so he thinks). Marcus proceeds to investigate the plot against him, while protecting his fellow Christians from Diocletian’s persecution. Marcus struggles with his desire for revenge.
There are many positives to this book. Brett Armstrong’s opening narration is beautiful and vivid, as it expresses Marcus’ memories of his wife and touches on his discontentment with paganism. The spiritual lessons of the book are worth reading, particularly the lessons about planting a seed before unbelievers and hoping that God will water that seed in their hearts, and of refraining from revenge as a testimony before others of God’s love. The book also did well to include details about the social and political situation of the Roman empire at the time: the problems that the Roman empire faced, internally and externally, and the different classes.
In terms of critiques, the book would have been better had it gone into more detail on certain topics. The motivation behind the plot against Marcus was somewhat nebulous. Granted, the motivation was gaining political power, but how exactly was Marcus’ Christianity standing in the way of that? Then there is Cassandra’s nature and motivation: she recoiled from barbaric Roman games, yet she beat her servant; and why did she participate in the plot? While Armstrong did well to highlight that the Christians were scapegoats, he could have gone into more detail about the Roman empire’s problems with Christians, such as their refusal to honor the Roman gods. There is also Marcus’ spiritual journey: what was Marcus seeking, and what did Benjamin say that influenced Marcus to become a Christian?
My method in reading this book was to read one page of my mobi book each day, then to go through the book to see how things fit together. I apologize for any misunderstandings on my part.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author. My review is honest.