Tuesday, January 26, 2010

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


Synopsis: (From the Publisher)
The richly imagined tale of Deborah, the courageous Biblical warrior who saved her people from certain destruction

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.

My Review:

 Deborah, Judge and Prophetess of the Israelites, is upon the highest hill overlooking a battle being fought between her people and the Canaanites. The Canaanites have been attacking Israelite lands for a long time and it is finally time to end it. She has chosen the warrior Barak to lead the Israelites into battle, but her choice comes at a great cost. The story quickly changes to the narration of Asherah, a Canaanite princess also anxiously awaiting the conclusion of this battle. She describes the weeks leading up to the battle; which includes the most touching story of her marriage to Sisra, the leader of the Canaanite army.

The battle is over but the havoc that it created is far from over. Barak triumphantly leads his army home with the spoils of war. Among those spoils are Asherah and Nogah, the two Canaanite princesses. Barak takes Asherah and Nogah for himself; wedding Asherah and keeping Nogah as a servant. Asherah is cold and selfish but Barak can not see this past her great beauty. He also does not realize the pure love that Nogah has for him and how it hurts her when she sees him with her sister. Deborah has also fallen for Barak, adding even more confusion to this twisted love triangle. When Nogah runs away Barak is stung, and begins to take a deeper look at his actions.

As the book switches narration between these main characters, we begin to see treacherous plots form against Israelites. Only together can they save Israel from a horrible destruction. After causing each other so much pain, can these strong characters look past each others faults and save a nation....


This book was a good and interesting read. It was great to see that all of the characters were in depth, not just the main ones. I was surprised how intense the love triangle was, it just kept building. My main issue with the novel is how often the narration switched between characters and from past to present; it caused a lot of confusion (especially the beginning). Any confusion was forgotten at the end, when everyone's story came together for a climactic and complete ending.

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