I just finished up the series by Francine Rivers, called, the Mark of the Lion. It was wonderful! I learned so so so much about Roman times, the depravity of it all, the Roman conquering of Jerusalem and Germany, and about the persecution of Christians! Not exactly a "happy make you feel good," kind of book, but very interesting with good characters.
One word to sum up this series: Intense
I think I cried like 5 times. And gasped. Alot.
Also, I really don't like when they put the characters' faces on the covers of the book, I like to let my imagination do the work.. So, if you want to read these, find the old covers (like the 3rd picture,) it's a less detailed cover.