See the ministry of Jesus through fresh eyes – the eyes of a woman and of a Pharisee.
Dividing Sword is a Christian Historical Novel, inspired by the Gospel of Matthew, and shows the real struggles of encountering Christ.
Follow two fictional characters as they grapple to keep their families and dreams intact in the wake of a controversial new rabbi.
What are they willing to give up for their faith?
Cover Design by Mordev Studios
Available on Amazon in paperback and ebook
Beth and Reuben are cousins and best friends growing up in first century Capernaum. Despite their nation's suffering under the thumb of Rome, both have clear hopes for the future, and when Jesus comes along they find their fates spiraling in directions they did not expect.
Shy Beth anticipates a quiet and simple life with her new husband, Peter. She has witnessed the brutal punishment of those who stand up to Rome and wants nothing to do with revolutionaries. When her impulsive husband throws caution to the wind, she is drawn out of her safe haven to places far from home and finds herself facing her greatest fears. What is she willing to give up for her faith?
Reuben feels God calling him to join the prestigious scholars known as the Pharisees, despite his father's wishes and his humble beginnings. He believes that the way to a restored Israel is through careful obedience to the law and traditions, and Jesus of Nazareth is challenging tradition at every turn. Can Reuben convince Beth that Jesus is dangerous? Will a humbling run-in with the Nazarene completely destroy his budding career?
Bible Fiction Blended with Fact
Dividing Sword is written as fiction, though it includes most of the stories of Matthew. See the story of Jesus through the words of Matthew – with his emphasis, themes, and stories. Read the famous stories in an immersive narrative and setting, and be drawn right into the world of Jesus, whether you're new to scripture, or a life-long scholar.
What People are Saying about Dividing Sword
“Powerful, imaginative, stirring! Here is a Judah Ben-Hur type story, but this time, it’s about the wife of Simon Peter (Beth ’ēshet Shim‘on). Get ready for a unique, substantive, and emotional journey down a stream that flows cleverly from, around, and through the Gospel of Matthew: Like the parable of the 10 virgins at a wedding feast (now helping to narrate the very touching wedding of Beth to Peter, and also much later in the story); Or like the scholar at the crucifixion—“My God, my God”—saying without a beat: “It’s a Psalm!” Unlike many current stories, this one tries to respect the vision of our first Gospel (without first mixing them all up into a Gospel stew!). Dividing Sword is not only a model of Bible story-telling, it is worth reading and then sharing.”
— Gary D. Collier (Ph.D.), Director of the Institute for the Art of Biblical Conversation and author of The Forgotten Treasure: Reading the Bible Like Jesus (1993), and of Scripture, Canon, and Inspiration (2012).
“Katrina Hamel has written a story that is familiar and yet new. Working mostly from St. Matthew’s Gospel, she has told the story of Jesus from the point of view of an unassuming woman, Beth, the wife of Peter. Even though we know the story, each chapter brings a new surprise. Hamel takes the abbreviated account in the Gospel and expands it using the knowledge we have about ancient Palestinian culture. Two generations ago, Dr. Frank G. Slaughter wrote a long series of novels based on the Bible. His books are now mostly forgotten, and it is time for a new generation to have an update of such biblical interpretations. Hamel is the one to do it. This well-written book provides insight and reading pleasure, and we can look forward to reading other works in a long series.”
— Rev. Richard Davies (Ph.D.), Dean Emeritus, Martin University. In retirement, he researches and writes about Pauline Studies, Patristics, Historical Theology, and Theological Studies.
"When I finished Dividing Sword late last night, I knew I had to write about it. Books like this are not written every day. Through its pages, I was completely transported to a time and place where Rome oppressed and a rebellious young prophet proclaimed an imminent kingdom of heaven. I can't imagine ever reading the gospel of Matthew in the same light again. It's as though I was witness to Christ's ministry here on earth and now, more than ever, it's part of my story too.
I can't recall an author ever making me so acutely aware of what her characters were feeling. And I wasn't just aware; I was feeling the feelings too.
I felt Beth's trepidation as she wrestled between choosing a life of safety at home and taking up her cross (potentially quite literally) to follow Jesus and be part of something extraordinary.
I could feel Peter's frustration when his outspoken questions only left him with more questions.
I could feel Reuben's jealousy towards Jesus. Afterall, he was the prestigious Pharisee. He was the one with the education and the clout. Yet Jesus was the one on whose every word they clung.
And I could feel Jesus' righteous indignation at the money changers and merchants who had set up shop in the temple courts, making a mockery of the house of God. When he flipped those tables with fire in His eyes, I flipped them too.
I do not want you to miss this book. Katrina Hamel's debut novel Dividing Sword is a gem and I was so blessed by the gift she's been given!"
— Danielle Anderson | on Instagram
"Dividing Sword was AMAZING! I learned so much from Katrina’s interpretation of the book of Matthew. It was eye-opening to see yourself in Peter’s wife’s shoes, meeting Jesus and getting to know Him. Really made Jesus come alive for me."
— Jenna K. | Peaches & Prayer peachesandprayer.com
"This rich third-person account of the ministry of Jesus will have you enthralled as you walk through the pages of history with Beth, Peter, Reuben and their contemporaries. You will be caught up in their exciting lives, finding yourself walking along the streets of Bethany and Jerusalem, climbing the Mount of Olives, and setting sail on the Sea of Galilee. A must-read for anyone who wants to know more about the lives of Jesus and His followers, for those who are seekers, or for anyone who simply enjoys a really good book. This first novel of Katrina D. Hamel is a winner.
— Linda H.
If you're reading Dividing Sword with your book club, make sure to download the free Discussion Questions printable!
These 25 thought-provoking questions will jump-start your conversation and maybe even help you get to know each other a little better. (Warning, this printable includes major spoilers, so don't read the questions until you're finished the book!)
Want to chat with the author? Contact me and I will do my best to meet for a video chat with your book club!
Reading with your Book Club?
About the Author
Katrina is a wife, a mom of four, and a follower of Christ from Alberta, Canada.
When she's not writing, Katrina loves reading, camping, road trips, escape rooms, iced coffee at the park, and playing board games with friends.
Dividing Sword is her debut novel, and she admits she was at first overwhelmed by the idea of writing a fictional account of the greatest story of all time.
In writing Dividing Sword, Katrina was able to immerse herself in Bible study in a whole new way, and she believes she will never be the same.
Check out her short stories on her blog, Jump in the Way!