"Year of the Passover" ranges far and wide across the brutal landscape of the eastern Roman Empire of 2,000 years ago, searching for clues in determining the year of the Passover of Jesus' crucifixion. A central character in the crucifixion is discovered to be Syrian General Lucius Vitellius, who was in Jerusalem at the time of the Passover preparing for war with Arabia. Hagan's work also stands alone as a valuable resource on Jewish and Roman history. Herod the Great and his powerful descendents are studied, along with Emperor Tiberius and other famous Romans of the era. Herodias, the Queen of the Galilee and granddaughter of Herod the Great, is profiled in detail. One of the most controversial and consequential women of her time, Herodias remains a cult figure to this day. The secretive Jewish sect of the Essenes is also investigated. Not only did Jesus take much of his philosophy from the Essenes, but Josephus argues that, centuries earlier, the Essenes inspired the Greek mystic Pythagoras. "Year of the Passover" is a must read for anyone with an interest in early Christian history.