Plugged In exists to shine a light on the world of popular entertainment while giving you and your family the essential tools you need to understand, navigate and impact the culture in which we live. Through reviews, articles and discussions, we want to spark intellectual thought, spiritual growth and a desire to follow the command of Colossians 2:8: "See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ."


Family uses Plugged In as a ‘significant compass’

"I am at a loss for words to adequately express how much it means to my husband and me to know that there is an organization like Focus that is rooting for us. Just today I was reading Psalm 37 and thinking about how your ministry provides ways to 'dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.' We have two teenagers and an 8-year-old in our household...Plugged In has become a significant compass for our family. All three of our kids are dedicated to their walk with Christ but they still encounter challenges. Thanks for all of your research and persistence in helping us navigate through stormy waters."

Plugged In helps college student stand-up for his belief

"Thanks for the great job you do in posting movie and television reviews online. I’m a college freshman and I recently had a confrontational disagreement with my English professor regarding an R-rated film. It is her favorite movie and she wanted to show it in class. I went to your Web site to research the film’s content. Although I had not seen the movie myself, I was able to make an educated argument against it based on the concerns you outlined. The prof said that she was impressed by my stand and decided to poll the whole class and give us a choice. We overwhelmingly voted to watch a G-rated movie instead! I’ve learned that I can trust your site and I will be using it a lot in the future.”

Plugged In brings ‘Sanity and Order’ to Non-believer

“Even though I don’t consider myself a Christian, I find your Plugged In Web site useful and thought-provoking. No one reviews movies like you do. Instead of being judgmental, you put entertainment ‘on trial.’ After presenting the evidence, you allow the jury of your readers to decide for themselves what they should do. In my opinion, you bring sanity and order to the wild world of modern day entertainment. Keep up the good work!”

Mom thinks Plugged In is the ‘BEST Christian media review site’

"Our family doesn't go to the movies until we go online and check out your assessment of a given film. I think this is the BEST Christian media review website that I've found, and I recommend it to my family and friends. Keep up the good work!"


Our hope is that whether you're a parent, youth leader or teen, the information and tools at Plugged In will help you and your family make appropriate media decisions. We are privileged to do the work we do, and are continually thankful for the generosity and support from you, our loyal readers, listeners and friends.

We hope this review was both interesting and useful. Please share it with family and friends who would benefit from it as well.

Book Review

This first historical fiction book in the " Mark of the Lion" series by Francine Rivers is published by Tyndale House Publishers.

A Voice in the Wind is written for adults but is sometimes studied by kids ages 16 and up.

Positive Elements

Spiritual Content

Sexual Content

Violent Content

Crude or Profane Language

Drug and Alcohol Content

Other Negative Elements


Pro-social Content

Objectionable Content

Summary Advisory

Plot Summary

Hadassah, a young Jewish girl, lives in Jerusalem during its fall to the Roman Empire. After the death of her entire family, Hadassah finds herself as a servant in Rome, living with the wealthy and prominent Valerian family. As a believer in Christ, Hadassah longs to share her faith with the Valerians, but she is afraid of being rejected for her beliefs. Hadassah quickly becomes the personal servant of Julia Valerian, a demanding young girl who seeks temporary pleasures and rebels against the restrictions placed on her by her parents. Instead, Julia engages in a series of troubled relationships, including a love affair with the famous gladiator, Atretes. As Hadassah continues to love and serve Julia, she attracts the attention of the handsome Marcus Valerian. Though she loves Marcus, Hadassah makes the difficult decision to openly follow and profess Christ, even at the risk of being killed in the Roman arena.

Christian Beliefs

Hadassah is a devoted Christian whose faith is evident in every area of her life. She is constantly in prayer, and she longs deeply for others to trust Christ. Hadassah often struggles to share her faith in an environment that is hostile to Christians, but she prays for boldness and faithfully lives out her Christian beliefs. When Julia faces a beating from her second husband Claudius, Hadassah throws herself over Julia and takes the punishment for her, a beautiful metaphor of Christ's love. Hadassah's father is another example of strong Christian faith. Having been healed by Jesus as a young boy, he is eventually martyred for sharing the gospel in public.

Other Belief Systems

Hedonism runs rampant in the Roman Empire, and both Marcus and Julia seem eager to lose their innocence in exchange for instant gratification and pleasure. Like most other Romans, the Valerians worship Roman gods and goddesses by praying to stone idols or visiting elaborate temples. Many of the characters view death as the end of life and thus worship intellect and sensuality. Atretes worships the Germanic war god Tiwaz, and he hopes to gain Tiwaz's favor and honor by dying in battle. Julia's friend Calabah believes people can improve themselves through the power of the mind. There are also a few references to black magic.

Authority Roles

One of the major themes is, "Whom do you serve?" Hadassah's whole-hearted allegiance is to God, and she makes decisions to serve Him even when it is difficult or unpopular. When Hadassah becomes a servant in the Valerian household, she chooses to serve the family from her heart, rather than out of obligation, realizing that her earthly service is also spiritual. Her example stands in contrast to many other characters' responses to authority: Julia and Marcus both openly rebel against their father's wishes, Julia repeatedly defies her husband's authority and Atretes often opposes his instructors during his time as a gladiator. Marcus asserts that Romans serve their emperor first, and he often serves Rome and himself even before serving his own family.


The brutality of the Roman Empire is accurately portrayed. The story contains explicit depictions of death, including death by crucifixion, beheading, beating and burning alive. Vivid war scenes describe soldiers amputating limbs and slicing groins with their weapons. During Atretes' gladiator training, he is whipped severely and branded as a Roman slave. In the arena, gladiators fight to the death and slit the throats of their victims before a cheering crowd. There are several references to rape, as captive women are stripped and abused by Roman guards. A less overt murder occurs when Julia poisons and kills one of her husbands.


Many of the book's characters seek fulfillment through sensuality and promiscuity. Numerous accounts of pre-marital and extramarital infidelity appear. The beautiful woman, Arria, actively attempts to arouse Marcus' sexual passions, and several intense kissing scenes are included throughout the book, including an implication of sexual abuse between Caius and Julia. Julia even pretends to be a prostitute at the temple of Artemis in order to win the affections of Atretes. Homosexuality is widely accepted in Roman culture, and two men are seen kissing in public. Julia's friend Calabah encourages Julia to marry a homosexual man with a boy lover. The Roman arena is full of sexual innuendos as well, where gladiators not only entice crowds with violence, but also by provocatively revealing their bodies. In addition, Julia aborts her first baby, and Hadassah must bury the unborn child's remains.

Discussion Topics

Get free discussion questions for this book and others, at FocusOnTheFamily.com/discuss-books.

Additional Comments/Notes

Book reviews cover the content, themes and world-views of fiction books, not their literary merit, and equip parents to decide whether a book is appropriate for their children. A book's inclusion does not constitute an endorsement by Focus on the Family.

You can request a review of a title you can't find at reviewrequests@family.org.

Episode Reviews



Readability Age Range

16 and up


Francine Rivers






Record Label



Tyndale House Publishers


On Video

Year Published




We hope this review was both interesting and useful. Please share it with family and friends who would benefit from it as well.

Get weekly e-news, Culture Clips & more!