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Saturday, September 26, 2009

Book Review: The Triumph of Deborah by Eva Etzioni-Halevy


The Triumph of Deborah by Eva Etzioni-Halevy
Paperback, 352 pages
Plume
February 26, 2008
★★★★½☆

Genre: Biblical Fiction

Source: Book received from author for review

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, returning triumphantly with Asherah and Nogah, daughters of the Canaanite King, as his prisoners. 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 Old Testament, and a tribute to feminine strength and independence.

The third book in Eva Etzioni-Halevys novels featuring women of the Bible. This is biblical fiction at its best.

Three women, each from different worlds, have their lives thrown into turmoil by the Israelite warrior Barak.

Deborah, a prophetess and judge of Israel, offers him her body if he will take command of the Israelite warriors and defeat the Canaanites. When he does these things – she gives what she promised and falls for him.

Naava is a Canaanite princess – but not your traditional one. She is the daughter of the king and a woman he kept as a slave. She has worked as a slave her entire life. When Barak takes the castle and takes her as one of his captives he doesn’t know of her royal status. He takes her as one of his many lovers and Naava falls hard for him.

Asherah is also a Canaanite princess. She is beautiful and smart and married to the leader of the Canaanite warriors. Like her sister, Barak takes her as one of his captives and decides he is going to make her his wife. Unlike her sister, she does not fall for Barak but instead wants revenge for the loss of her husband.

The characters in the book were a mix of historical and fictional, but the way they are represented and described, you would never know which are which. Each character has a well developed back story, personality, desires, life. You develop an attachment to the characters and want what they want (I was especially attached to Asherah’s story, right from the beginning). I didn’t know anything about this period in time or the people in this book and like usual I went outside the text to find some background information. Interestingly, almost everything I found (from biblical texts as well as general internet searches) was included in the book. The author did an amazing job of keeping the book true to what is known to have happened while filling in the gaps history left behind.

These women are strong women. Each one faces hardships, tests of character, moral decisions – like each of us face every day. Even though these events took place a very long time ago – they are still relevant to today. Women still face similar hardship and can still respond in similar ways.

I have never been to the part of the world where this story is set, but the author takes careful time to describe it and it feels now like I have been there. It is so real to me and beautiful.

The author also has written The Song of Hannah and The Garden of Ruth – both of which are Biblical fiction.  You can read a short interview that I did with the author here.

Reviews of this book by other bloggers:


Here are some choices for purchasing the book: Amazon, B&N, RJ Julia (my fav indie bookstore).
 





Copyright © 2009 by The Maiden’s Court

2 comments:

  1. Thank you for your great review. The book looks and sound great. I love great history novels with strong women in them.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Excellent review:) I'm really intrigued by this author's work!

    ReplyDelete

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