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Review: Of Fire and Lions
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Review: Of Fire and Lions

08 Mar Posted by in Reviews | Comments Off on Review: Of Fire and Lions
Review: Of Fire and Lions

Of Fire and Lions by Mesu Andrews
Reviewed by: Pam Graber
Genre: Biblical Fiction
Publisher: Waterbrook-Multnomah
Publication Date: March 5, 2019

Taken from her home in Jerusalem as a 9-year-old child, Abigail serves the four Hebrew princes, Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. When Daniel becomes Belteshazzar, and the other three become Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, she continues to act as their servant, cleaning and bringing meals to “the boys.” By the time she is 10, she comes under the Babylonian king’s scrutiny, because the king feels Daniel is too invested in the beautiful slave girl.

Stolen away from her boys, Abigail is basically cast adrift on the streets of Babylon, where her beauty becomes her curse. Hiding and stealing food for survival only lasts so long. When she is found nearly dead from starvation in a back alley, she is taken to the temple of Mithra and nursed back to health. To pay back her captors for their care, she becomes a temple slave, which doesn’t seem bad. She’d been helping her mother clean the palace for years. This wasn’t so different, until one day, a greedy temple priest sells her innocence to a high ranking official for 50 shekels. After that, she becomes Belili, and attains the rank of high priestess of Mithra, leaving her memories of Yahweh’s provision for her in the past. After all, He didn’t save her from her darkest hour. Why would she continue to revere Him?

Daniel never forgot little Abigail. She was his first love, and even though he married later, he never fully gave his heart again. He has worked his way to being one of King Nebuchadnezzar’s top advisors, interpreting the king’s dreams, and worshiping Yahweh. When the king’s proclamation gets his three best friends thrown into a fiery furnace, God’s power reaches out to save them, and confirms everything Daniel has always believed. When he realizes that his Abigail is also in attendance, and witnessed this miracle, he is equally stunned to find her married to a Babylonian official, and that she now goes by the name, Belili.

What happens when a plague takes both of their spouses, leaving Belili with a son to care for and no income? Daniel for his part, must have a spouse to continue to serve the king, and he can think of none better than Belili. Their love-match ignites both of their hearts, but will her secrets destroy Daniel’s faith?

Wow! This is biblical fiction at its finest! I was so invested in Belili and her life, and could definitely see how her faith would have taken a serious hit in her early years. Daniel’s life seemed easier in many ways, although he, too, was essentially a slave. The wisdom he gained through his worship of the one true God, became a tool to bring the nation of Israel out of bondage. Mesu Andrews ties many biblical stories into Of Fire and Lions, all of which I’d heard before, but I really never put them together as happening at the same time. And, let me just say, the “Daniel in the Lion’s Den” part of the story is excellent!!

I absolutely recommend this book to anyone who loves historical fiction. This book made the Bible stories come to life for me, and that is the BEST kind of fiction, as far as I’m concerned!

Rated PG: Abigail serves as a temple slave as a child and is raped at 10. While the book doesn’t explicitly come out and say this, the implication puts it into the PG range for me. There is also significant violence as part of the Hebrew captivity in Babylon.

Reviewer’s copy was provided by the Publisher. Thank you!

 

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