13 May 2019

Of Fire and Lions by Mesu Andrews

Waterbrook Multnomah, March 5th 2019
Print, Ebook and Audio

The Old Testament book of Daniel comes to life in this novel for readers of Lynn Austin's Chronicles of the Kings series or Francine Rivers' Mark of the Lion series.

Survival. A Hebrew girl first tasted it when she escaped death nearly seventy years ago as the Babylonians ransacked Jerusalem and took their finest as captives. She thought she'd perfected in the many years amongst the Magoi and the idol worshippers, pretending with all the others in King Nebuchadnezzar's court. 

Now, as Daniel's wife and a septuagenarian matriarch, Belili thinks she's safe and she can live out her days in Babylon without fear--until the night Daniel is escorted to Belshazzar's palace to interpret mysterious handwriting on a wall. The Persian Army invades, and Bellili's tightly-wound secrets unfurl with the arrival of the conquering army. What will the reign of Darius mean for Daniel, a man who prays to Yahweh alone? 

Ultimately, Yahweh's sovereign hand guides Jerusalem's captives, and the frightened Hebrew girl is transformed into a confident woman, who realizes her need of the God who conquers both fire and lions.

My Rating:⭐⭐⭐⭐

Of Fire and Lions was the first novel I have read by this author. I'm getting to like Biblical Fiction now more than I used to, and the Book of Daniel. Well, it really does cover some very turbulent times earth-shaping events from the perspective of a Jewish exile who rose to the heights of society in Ancient Babylonia, but remained faithful to his God.

Who can forget the story of King Nebuchadnezzar's Dream of the great statue, Daniel in the Lion's Den, and the Fiery Furnace. Its all here, alongside some hints of Romance and family drama.
Adding Daniel's wife, and having much of the story written from her standpoint adds an interesting and emotional flavour to the story.

Abigail (the said wife of Daniel), takes on a Babylonian name, and struggles with the terrible hand that fate deals with her. Though sometimes its the King, not fate. Even in later life she struggles to come to terms with her past, and to repair her relationship with her children who she was forced to live apart from for several years.
She grows and develops a lot as a character, and is the perfect companion to Daniel: at times and almost otherworldly figure.

It terms of historical accuracy, this novel seemed pretty good. The descriptions of places and buildings, and even religious rites were authentic.
My only niggle, and its a minor one, was the use of the term 'Palestinian'. There was no such place as 'Palestine' in 500BC: the region in the modern day Holy Land was not called that until Roman times.

Overall this was a very good story told from the perspective of a strong but vulnerable woman. I would certainly be open to reading more by this author.

I requested this title from Netgalley. I was not required to write a positive review and all opinions expressed are my own.

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