Plume (Penguin), trade pb, 350 p.
The richly imagined tale of Deborah, the courageous biblical warrior who saved her people from certain destruction.I don’t usually read much Biblical fiction, or Christian fiction for that matter, although I loved The Red Tent when I read it several years ago, and I do enjoy good historical fiction. Needless to say then I’m not very familiar with the Bible so I didn’t know the story of Deborah beforehand, but I quite enjoyed reading about ancient Israel at this point in time and the conflict with the neighbouring Canaanites. I can’t say for sure, not having any background knowledge, but it certainly seemed that the author did a good job researching the time to create an accurate, plausible tale.
In ancient Israel, war is looming. Deborah, a highly respected leader, has coerced the warrior Barak into launching a strike against the neighboring Canaanites. Against all odds, he succeeds and returns triumphantly with Asherah and Nogah, the daughters of the Canaanite king, as his captives. But military victory is only the beginning of the turmoil, as a complex love triangle develops between Barak and the two princesses.
Deborah, recently cast off by her husband, develops a surprising affinity for Barak. Yet she struggles to rebuild her existence on her own terms, while also groping her way toward the greatest triumph of her life.
Filled with brilliantly vivid historical detail, The Triumph of Deborah is the absorbing and riveting tale of one of the most beloved figures in the Bible, and a tribute to feminine strength and independence.
Although Deborah is the de facto leader of the Israelites, and it’s ultimately her story, her triumph, as the title of the book indicates, I was much more interested in the goings on in Barak’s household, and the love story unfolding there. I loved the character of Nogah, and even came to feel for the womanizing, brutal Barak as he grew and became a better person through his relationship with her.
Overall it was a satisfying read and one I probably wouldn’t have picked up on my own. Thank you to the author, Eva Etzioni-Halevy, for the opportunity to read this book.
First sentence: Two women were standing on high places, shielding their eyes from the blazing sun with their hands, peering into the distance in search of messengers from the battlefield.
My Rating: 3.5/5
(#20 for 2009, ARC Reading Challenge)
Also reviewed at:
B&b ex libris
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