In 3rd century Rome, Valeria is the daughter of Emperor Diocletian. She secretly abandons her pagan Roman faith and becomes a Christian. When she falls in love with the handsome Mauritius, also a Christian and the leader of an elite troop of skilled warriors named the Theban Legion, her life is full of hope for their future together. But shortly after they meet, Mauritius is called to war. He promises that upon his return, he will ask Valeria's father for her hand in marriage.
Galerius is an ambitious general who will stop at nothing to rise to power and he sets his sights on Valeria, the Emperor's daughter. Valeria does everything to discourage his lecherous lust.
On the battlefield, however, Mauritius falls under the evil machinations of Galerius who executes him and the entire Theban Legion because of their Christianity. Valeria grieves at news of her beloved's death. Her life turns upside down when she learns her father has betrothed her to the licentious Galerius, a man she loathes. As time passes, Valeria struggles to accept her new life with a man she does not love.
Based on actual historical events, Valeria's Cross, co-authored by Kathi Macias and Susan Wales is an interesting novel of the brutality of the Roman Empire and the struggles of early Christianity. They did an excellent job of portraying the persecution of the Christians in that violent era. I must admit, I struggled to accept the marriage between Galerius and Valeria, and I could not grow to like him, no matter how hard he tried to be a good husband to Valeria. Nevertheless, this novel offers much for readers interested in early Christianity and includes Reader's Group questions at the end.