Sunday, October 19, 2014

Keepers of the Covenant by Lynn Austin

About the book: 

The Old Testament Comes to Thrilling Life in the Latest from Lynn Austin
In one life-changing moment, the lives of the Jewish exiles in Babylon are thrown into confusion and despair when a decree arrives from the king's palace in Susa. It calls for the annihilation of every Jewish man, woman, and child throughout the empire on the thirteenth day of Adar, in less than one year. Ezra, a quiet Jewish scholar and teacher, is suddenly called upon to lead the community as they seek God for a reason for this catastrophe. When a second decree arrives, authorizing them to fight back, Ezra is thrust into the role of military leader as they defend themselves against their enemies.
When the battles come to an end, Ezra's brother Jude is dead and Ezra is required by the Law he so diligently studies to marry Jude's widow, Devorah, and provide an heir. Fatherhood changes Ezra, and he asks God to make a way for him and the other exiles to leave Babylon for good and return to Jerusalem. His prayers are answered and the exiles move to Judea to revitalize worship at the temple---but the fight to keep God's Law is never easy. As more and more of his community are tempted, a new battle emerges . . . this one for the survival of God's covenant and the souls of His chosen faithful.

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About the Author: 

Bestselling author Lynn Austin has sold more than one million copies of her books worldwide. She is an eight-time Christy Award winner for her historical novels, as well as a popular speaker at retreats and conventions. Lynn and her husband have raised three children and live near Chicago.

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Keepers of the Covenant is the second in THE RESTORATION CHRONICLES SERIES and within a few pages readers will understand why Lynn Austin is considered one of Christian fiction's best authors.  Austin has brought the Old Testament scriptures of the Jewish exiles in Babylonia to life.  When the people receive King Xerxes's decree(crafted by Haman's hand) that on a certain day all Jews are to be wiped out, they feel abandoned by God and hopeless.  When a second decree comes months later saying that the Jewish people may defend themselves, they see that Haman has been replaced by Mordecai, a name they recognize as being Jewish.  Plus they hear rumors that the king has married a Jewish woman. Perhaps God is keeping his promises.  We will recognize this as the story of Esther and her uncle, but what Austin writes is an imagining of how the people are affected by the two decrees.  I especially liked the inclusion of Amina and Sayfah, two Gentile girls whose family has been killed in the bloodshed that occurs on the thirteenth day of Adar.  Both girls, but especially Amina who had a physical deformity, had been mistreated by their father.  Left homeless and vulnerable,   kind grandmotherly Hodaya, herself a Gentile who married into the Jewish faith, takes the girls in and lavishes them with acceptance and love.  Their stories, along with those of Ezra, Devorah, and Reuben bring ancient times to life.  I received a copy of this title from Litfuse for review purposes.  All opinions are mine.

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