Every Knee Shall Bow

Reviewed by:

Connor Salter, Professional Writing alumnus from Taylor University, Upland, IN.


Every Knee Shall Bow (Constantine’s Empire #2)


Brian Litfin



Publication Date:

October 12, 2021




496 pages


After falling in love and being separated by harsh forces, Flavia and Rex doubt they will ever see each other again. Flavia has become deeply connected to the Roman church, entrusted with a diplomatic mission to Constantine that will affect the canonization of scripture. Rex is now a slave on a Roman ship, planning his escape and return to glory as a warrior. Will Rex find faith in the god that Flavia serves? Will either of them survive against the political and religious forces that would see their goals destroyed?

When reviewing the previous book in this series, this reviewer noted that the setting was interesting but the dialogue flat and redundant, making the characters sound obvious or oddly modern. The same problem applies here, and admittedly may be a problem affecting many books in this genre. When a story’s in a historical setting with lots of pomp and circumstance (gladiator games, Roman politicians, early Christians debating how to view Roman slavery, etc.) characters tend to say things which feel artificial. It takes a very particular touch to make that kind of dialogue work. In this case, it creates the odd sense that the characters sound too modern or cartoonish for a historical novel. They could talk like this in a satire where characters lampoon the plot, and it would work. Instead, it just feels wooden.

Dialogue limitations aside, Litfin does a good job of combining historical factoids with interesting characters. He balancing these elements better than many historians-turned novelists do, giving characters who feel like more than stock figures brought in to introduce big ideas. He also knows how to create a good fight/chase scene, which keeps the plot from dragging.

Readers looking for a decent, history-based adventure will enjoy this book.


Rating (1 to 5 stars)

3 stars

Suggested Audience

Readers who enjoy historical fiction novels set in the early Christian period, similar to Nathan Maki’s A War Within series.

Christian Impact

The author uses the historical setting to give readers a look at the religious questions that concerned people in the first generation that Christianity was legalized in the Roman Empire.

Note: Most readers will find this book hard to understand without reading the previous book in the series, The Conqueror. To read ECLA’s review of that book, go to:


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