My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This is the story of King Hezekiah. The story was slow at first, but I got into it eventually. I listened to the audiobook, and the narrator is outstanding. The more I listened, the more I wanted to go back and read the biblical accounts of Hezekiah and remind myself of which elements are true and which are fiction, which is a good thing. That’s one of the reasons I read biblical fiction.
Another is to imprint biblical events, characters, and sayings into my mind more vividly. That goal was also accomplished.
The only major criticism I have is the statement that faith doesn’t come from the mind, but from the heart. The statement came in response to a character’s request for proof. It’s true that faith is a function of the heart, but the heart includes the mind. Many places in Scripture describe the heart as the place where thoughts reside (e.g. Psalm 19:14). Faith is not opposed to proofs or evidence. Faith is simply believing that which the best evidence supports, and Jesus called us to believe based on evidence and proof (John 14:11, Acts 1:3), and we should also strive to persuade people to believe (2 Cor.5:11).
A related weakness of the books is the existence of a modern, secular worldview in characters that would not have likely had such a view. For example, Hezekiah’s reluctance to accept the concept of the supernatural. In those days, the vast majority of believers and unbelievers accepted the idea that God (or the gods) were involved in everything that took place. The idea that things happened apart from divine involvement was not a dominant way of thinking by any stretch.
Another example is a woman’s complaint that she never had a chance to be her own person. The degree of individualism expressed by that character is common in our culture but was not in that culture.
The book is hardly a page turner, but I recommend it nonetheless.