In Their Darkest Hour, Where Would Hope Be Found?
In one life-changing moment, the lives of the exiles in Babylon are thrown into despair when a decree from the king’s palace calls for the annihilation of every Jewish man, woman, and child throughout the empire in less than one year.
Ezra, a quiet but brilliant scholar, soon finds himself called upon to become the leader of his people. Forced to rally an army when all his training has been in the Torah, he struggles to bring hope in a time of utter despair, when dreams of the future–of family and love–seem impossible.
In Keepers of the Covenant, acclaimed novelist Lynn Austin weaves together the struggles and stories of both Jews and Gentiles, creating a tapestry of faith and doubt, love and loss. Here, the Old Testament comes to life, demonstrating the everlasting hope displayed in God’s unwavering love for His people.
Lynn Austin’s well written, well researched biblical fiction has reignited my interest in the book of Ezra. This second book in The Restoration Chronicles opens in Babylon, the year 743 BC. Jews who had chosen to remain there during the first deportation under King Darius are later forbidden to leave under new rule. To their shock and dismay, Haman issues a decree bearing the seal of King Xerxes that in effect is a death warrant for all remaining Jews. This decree encourages citizens to kill and plunder their Jewish neighbors on the thirteenth of Adar. Those familiar with the story of Queen Esther will appreciate the view from the other side of the palace walls. The events that transpire on that fateful day are the catalyst to this story.
The author carefully intertwines the lives of three characters from three different locations within the Persian empire: Ezra of Babylon, Reuben of Casiphia, and Amina of Bethlehem. Each character is uniquely affected by the Thirteenth of Adar. For Reuben a seed of bitterness takes root, Amina finds hope, and Ezra hears God’s call to lead. Through their individual trials, God reveals his character, provision, and faithfulness. Other themes you will encounter revolve around worthiness, obedience, sanctity of life, forgiveness, spiritual apathy, and revival.
On the whole Keepers of the Covenant is an enjoyable read. The plot, while not incredibly fast paced, was steady and thought-provoking. There are life lessons for us all to learn through each of these characters. Amina’s story of abuse and rejection touched my heart. I thought it was a nice touch how Mrs. Austin used Hodaya, a character from Return to Me, to show compassion and demonstrate God’s love to Amina. Bitterness like Reuben’s affects members of my own family — they have allowed loss to drive a wedge between themselves and God. Readers will appreciate how Reuben’s life is changed when someone views him as something other than a wayward young man. I also found Ezra’s actions familiar as he teeters between obedience and legalism. Thankfully his wife, a true help-mate, points him toward reminds him of the merciful side of God. As women we have a special influence over the men in our lives – may we always strive to use it to His glory!
Once I completed the story I took another look at the book of Ezra and I could see the tiny details the author brought into her novel. It’s these subtle treasures that keep me coming back to Lynn Austin and her biblical fiction.
I am grateful to the Baker Publishing Group for providing me with a copy of this title to review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
About the author:
Lynn Austin has sold more than one million copies of her books worldwide. She is an eight-time Christy Award winner and an inaugural inductee into the Christy Award Hall of Fame, as well as a popular speaker at retreats, conventions, women’s groups and book clubs.
Along with reading, two of Austin’s lifelong passions are history and archaeology. While researching her Biblical fiction series, Chronicles of the Kings, these two interests led her to pursue graduate studies in Biblical Backgrounds and Archaeology through Southwestern Theological Seminary. Twenty-five years ago, Austin was able to travel to Israel to take part in an archaeological dig at the ancient city of Timnah.
Austin’s husband’s career allowed them to live in Bogota, Colombia, as well as Ontario and Manitoba, Canada. They now make their home in Michigan.
KEEPERS OF THE COVENANT Kindle Giveaway and Live Author Chat with Lynn Austin!
Lynn Austin is back with the next book in The Restoration Chronicles series, Keepers of the Covenant. Austin weaves together the struggles and stories of both Jews and Gentiles, creating a tapestry of faith and doubt, love and loss. Here, the Old Testament comes to life, demonstrating the everlasting hope displayed in God’s unwavering love for His people.
Lynn is celebrating with a Kindle HDX giveaway and a live author chat webcast on October 21st.
One winner will receive:
- A Kindle HDX
- Keepers of the Covenant by Lynn Austin
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on October 21st. Winner will be announced at the Keepers of the Covenant LIVE webcast event on October 21st. Connect with Lynn for a fascinating evening centered around God’s unwavering love for His people. She’ll be hosting a Biblical fiction book club discussion, giving away prizes, answering your questions, offering an exclusive peek at the next book in The Restoration Chronicles, and much more!