Fiction Book Reviews

Book Review: The Triumph of Deborah

By Sandy Amazeen Apr 22, 2008, 21:00 GMT

Book Review: The Triumph of Deborah

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 ...more

Expanding upon historical accounts of the ancient conflict between the Israelites and Canaanites, Etzioni-Halevy has created a vivid, richly textured tale of feminine courage. In going against her husband Lapidoth’s wishes, he divorces Deborah after sixteen years of marriage. Although she is a respected leader, men in general and Sisra, the Canaanite leader in particular, mistakenly think of Deborah as inconsequential. In a premonition, Deborah sees the Canaanite leader being killed by a woman, a prophecy that eventually comes true when Jael drives a stake through his head. Deborah succeeds in rallying General Barak and the Jewish fighting force into engaging the superior Canaanite army, an engagement Barak wins due in part to a weather fluke. Taken as spoils of war was Sisra’s young bride, Asherah and her half-sister Nogath, both daughters of King Jabin. Although Barak marries the beautiful, vengeful Asherah, a tangled love triangle develops between him and the two sisters. Deborah with her keen insight into the personal price of warfare and the cold, calculating Asherah remain the primary focus to the story making this tale as much a journey into the workings of the heart as a historical vision.

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