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 is celebrating the release of Keepers of the Covenant with a special giveaway and webcast. Read on for more information.
Lynn Austin’s Restoration Chronicles continues with Keepers of the Covenant, based on the second half of the book of Ezra. It starts, however, with the introduction of a familiar character from the story of Esther. Haman is offended by Mordecai’s behavior and traps the Persian king into issuing an edict fatal to the Jewish community. The reader is familiar with how events played out. Here, Austin focuses on how the Jews throughout Persia reacted to that edict. We see their panic and bewilderment, and also their faith in God. We also get to see how their enemies eagerly waited for the date of the announced annihilation to arrive. The build-up to that date is a tense affair that kept me reading. I knew the outcome, but Austin made it personal by introducing likable characters on both sides. These characters will all suffer tragedy in the carnage, but they’ll react to it in different ways. Eventually, Austin draws these characters together after the second group of exiles arrives in Jerusalem.
Keepers of the Covenant faithfully follows the book of Ezra, culminating in Ezra’s decisions regarding mixed marriages. Ezra is called to lead his people according to the instructions in the Torah, including the commandment that no one should marry a Gentile. This could have personal consequences for Ezra’s family, and his search of the Torah for answers will eventually bring him closer to God. This is a main theme of the book, as well as the subjects of prayer, trust and faith. There’s a message that God is working for us, even if we cannot see Him in action.
It isn’t necessary to have read the previous book – Return to Me – which focuses on the first six chapters of Ezra. I’d definitely recommend it, however. There’s also a familiar character from that first book that appears in book two. I’m also happy to announce that Austin is writing book three, called On This Foundation, which is based on the book of Nehemiah.
Thank you to Bethany House and Litfuse for my complimentary copy of Keepers of the Covenant, which I received in exchange for an honest review.
Have you read Keepers of the Covenant? Do you plan to read it? Let me know your thoughts.
Publisher: Bethany House
Publication Date: 07 October 2014
Page Count: 480