Since the new Ben Hur for 2016 was so utterly disappointing, I wanted to point out a great book to both Messala and Stephen Boyd fans that you may not know exists! Yes, someone actually wrote a sequel to Ben Hur! And it’s actually about Messala! Now, unless you have read the actual book by Lew Wallace, a sequel with Messala makes no sense because in William Wyler’s 1959 epic, Messala dies (quite magnificently). In the novel, he dies too, but not actually before the eyes of Judah Ben Hur, but by word of mouth from a character in the novel, Iris, who usually gets eliminated from all the movie versions (except the 1929 version). So in Lois Scouten’s book, she describes what really happens to Messala and Iris, who actually become a couple in Lew Wallace’s original novel after Messala is crippled after the chariot race. I won’t go into too many spoilers, but Lois Scouten does a wonderful job in describing Messala, his personality, his road to recovery from his crippled condition, meeting Judah Ben Hur again, dealing with the intrigues of the Imperial Court of Tiberius near Capri, and eventually earning back Judea’s trust. It’s a really fun read, especially since it’s told from Messala’s first person point of view! So don’t let the bad, new version of Ben Hur get you down- go order this book on Ebay or Amazon and just imagine Stephen Boyd and Charlton Heston gracing the movie screen once again in a Ben Hur sequel!