The following is a summary of The Triumph of Deborah from Eva Etzioni-Halevy's website:
THE RICHLY IMAGINED SAGA OF DEBORAH, THE COURAGEOUS BIBLICAL WARRIOR, PROPHETESS AND LEADER WHO SAVED HER PEOPLE FROM CERTAIN DESTRUCTION
In ancient Israel, war is looming. Deborah has coerced warrior Barak into launching a strike against the neighboring Canaanites, who threaten their people with destruction. Against all odds he succeeds, returning triumphantly with two 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: the attainment of peace.
Based on the book of Judges , and filled with brilliantly vivid historical detail, the novel shows that in her own life Deborah was very much a woman, and that her femininity did not detract from her stature as national leader. Thereby it pays tribute to Deborah's feminine strength and independence from which present day women, seeking to build lives of their own and assert themselves in whatever way they choose to do so, may derive inspiration.
The Triumph of Deborah describes a prominent woman leader who led her people to war but also to peace. Hence it should be of special relevance in an American presidential election year in which a female candidate is a front runner. It should also be of relevance on the occasion of the sixtieth anniversary of Israel, where women's leadership is becoming increasingly prominent, a year in which the topic of female leadership in time of war and peace will be most prominent on both countries' agenda.
This is the first book that an author has asked me to review on my blog and I will admit that I really enjoyed this one. If you read the book of Judges in the Bible, you can understand how this story is believable, even though it is a work of fiction. I enjoyed how the author was true to the language at the time. The dialogue and sentence structures had an ancient familiarity to them, yet kept me intrigued and wanting to read more. Here is just a small excerpt that showcases the writing and how this novel followed the biblical story:
Yet Deborah was left with a vague feeling that the celebration she had arranged did not elicit favor from the Lord. Perhaps this was because, though it had been planned for his glorification, it had aggrandized her and Barak as well. Or perhaps it was because the Lord was not pleased at the people's celebrating the downfall of their enemies. This was strictly forbidden by Torah law, which states:
When Your enemy falls you shall not rejoice.pg. 188
A war is imminent between Israel and Canaan and the prophetess Deborah is charged with the task of leading Israel in this battle. Deborah seeks assistance from the powerful warrior Barak, in leading this mission. Little does Deborah know that Barak's only requirement for serving his country is to receive a reward that only Deborah can provide! This creates so much tension in Deborah's marriage that her husband divorces her.
Upon the defeat of the Canaanite's, Barak decided that if any women were to his liking he would take them home to possibly serve as a wife to him. Since the end of the battle also released many individuals out of slavery, he offered his home as shelter to these people until they found a permanent resident. Asherah, the Canaanite King's daughter, instantly caught Barak's eye as the woman that he would take for his own and marry. But little did he realize that Nogah, an illigitimate daughter of the King, would also spark a desire within his heart.
It was interesting to learn bits and peices of the Torah law. As an example, Barak kept Asherah in his home but would not have his way with her until she was given her 30 days of mourning after losing her family in the battle. Although this man was quite a player for his time, he was never known to force himself upon any woman. To help him bade the time during Asherah's 30 days of mourning, he would entertain himself with the company of various maids throughout his home. Since Nogah was living in his home as a maid after being freed from her slavery, Barak found himself spending more time with this plain, but not unattractive young lady.
This novel is abundant with Israelite customs that are very interesting to read and compare to today's society. It is also a very passionate book that has you hoping that the characters get what they are looking for in their relationships. What I really loved about this book is that although I could feel the passion bouncing off of the pages, there really were not any sexually explicit scenes or obscene language throughout. I found myself liking almost all of the main characters at one point or another, whether they were Israelite or Canaanite.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book and think it would also make an interesting discussion for a book club. I would like to thank the author, Eva Etzioni-Halevy for sending me this book to review. You can see what other books Eva has available by going to her website here.
My Rating: 4/5
Since I enjoyed this book so much I want to share it with someone out there. So I am going to give away my gently read copy to one lucky reader.
To enter this giveaway you must be 18 or older and live in the US or Canada.
For one entry leave me a comment below.
For an additional entry, link this contest to your blog.
Please make sure I have a way to contact you if you win.
You will have until February 23rd to enter, I will draw for a winner on the 24th. Good luck!