Many of the early martyrs died as props in public spectacles. They went unarmed against gladiators. Or they were sewn up in animal skins and sent out against wild beasts. Christians today know the scenes from religious images that impose a certain solemnity on the occasion.
But a recently discovered mosaic in Tunisia gives us a sense of the showbiz of it all — a carnival barker calling us to carnage.
I think it makes books like this one all the more poignant.