Judah Ben-Hur, a prince falsely accused of treason by his adopted brother, an officer in the Roman army, returns to his homeland after years at sea to seek revenge, but finds redemption.
The chaos erupting in Jerusalem during the last three days of Jesus’ life is palpable in the novel. Ben-Hur frantically catches bits of information and gossip, and not knowing how it will end or what to make of it. He sees his army of Galileans disillusioned and dispersed, while his fiancée turns on him, denouncing his lack of ambition and abandoning him for his enemy. He wrestles with his heart over a man who can cure lepers but won’t protect himself. As Ben-Hur guided readers through the scenes of the Passion, so did he lead the way for Lew Wallace to believe in Jesus Christ. “I have seen the Nazarene,” Wallace told an audience in San Francisco. “I saw him perform works which no mere man could perform. I have heard him speak. I was at the crucifixion. With Ben-Hur I watched and studied him for years, and at last I, too, took the word that Balthasar gave him—‘God.