Day of War, Lion of War Series #1   -     By: Cliff Graham
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Day of War, Lion of War Series #1

Zondervan / 2011 / Paperback

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Product Description

In ancient Israel, at the crossroads of the great trading routes, a man named Benaiah is searching for a fresh start in life. He has joined a band of soldiers led by a warlord named David, seeking to bury the past that refuses to leave him. Their ragged army is disgruntled and full of reckless men. Some are loyal to David, but others are only with him for the promise of captured wealth.

While the ruthless and increasingly mad King Saul marches hopelessly against the powerful Philistines, loyal son Jonathan in tow, the land of the Hebrew tribes has never been more despondent-and more in need of rescue. Over the course of ten days, from snowy mountain passes to sword-wracked battlefields, Benaiah and his fellow mercenaries must call upon every skill they have to survive and establish the throne for David-if they don't kill each other first.

Product Information

Format: Paperback
Number of Pages: 368
Vendor: Zondervan
Publication Date: 2011
Dimensions: 9 X 6 (inches)
ISBN: 0310331838
ISBN-13: 9780310331834
Availability: In Stock
Series: Lion of War

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Publisher's Description

Day of War is a gritty, intense, stylistic portrait of the Mighty Men of Israel---a rag-tag band of disgruntled warriors on the run with David, the soon-to-be King, whose legendary deeds are recorded in 2 Samuel 23 and 1 Chronicles 11.

Author Bio

Cliff Graham is an Army veteran and the author of the Lion of War Series, soon to be a major motion picture franchise from director David L. Cunningham (The Path to 9/11)and producer Grant Curtis (the Spider-Man films). He currently lives in the mountains of Utah with his wife and children.

ChristianBookPreviews.com

From the first page of Day of War, Cliff Graham throws his reader into a tumultuous series of both physical and emotional battles, every time bringing his characters back to the unfailing covering of God. Though a man named Benaiah is the book's main hero, the story follows various soldiers who are either a part of David’s army or his enemies. Rough and realistic, the tale refuses to shirk from any of the positive or negative aspects, jumping between struggles with a criminal army, a hated Philistine alliance, and Israel's inner conflict. Bringing biblical characters to life, Day of War is impactful, pulling readers into the pages.

Whereas it is frequently a tendency for Christians to turn Old Testament history into simple stories with morals, Graham's recounting of the times of David ignites new life into figures sometimes worn out by repetition of their tales. He keeps a firm grip on the Scriptures, maintaining historical details while regaling the readers with descriptions so real they place readers inside the battle. At the forefront of characters' minds is their reliance on God, their "covering." Yet, there are also those who have turned away, portrayed in such a relatable way that any Christian who has ever lost sight of God will recognize himself in the character. God, who is loving and just, continues to look after his own: "I will never leave you nor forsake you" (Hebrews 13:5).

The plot focuses mainly on Benaiah, a man with a dark and terrible past who runs from both God and his emotional devastation. But the story is not that simple, and there are various chapters scattered throughout the book that deal with David, Saul, the Amalekite enemies, and other key men.

Despite having powerful characters who are overwhelmingly human, there was one aspect of Graham's that did not work. Guardian angels and demons are at one time locked into combat, but they seem out of place and, fortunately, do not appear for the majority of the story. If the supernatural element is continued in future books, this will not be an issue, but it does seem a bit out of context.

With only a few simple phrases, Graham can determine whether or not a reader will adore or abhor a character. Mundane facts are given life, and statistics and names now have personalities and meanings. Benaiah, a man who buries himself in war, is not always the most likeable or the strongest of characters. Perhaps this is what makes him a powerful protagonist: he is imperfect, and the reader wants to see him grow closer to God and be healed. Some characters make a few comments that are, after a while, a bit degrading to women, but considering the time period it should be overlooked.

Expecting to find this a book geared mainly toward men, I was impressed to discover how much I enjoyed reading it. The ending is intriguing, not necessarily due to a cliffhanger but to the unresolved anger and emotional conflict that remain in some of the main characters. Anyone interested in a retelling of biblical stories, and who is not afraid of the realities of war or struggles with lust, will enjoy reading Graham's Day of War. – Sarah Lyons, www.ChristianBookPreviews.com

Publisher's Weekly

Army veteran and chaplain Graham (Call of Duty) draws from deep research and experience in war to write about the fascinating and underdocumented stories of the biblical "Mighty Men" of King David. In a tale set in the ancient Near East, the author provides the history buff a biblically based story that is not preachy but is actually quite gruesome, as a ragtag band of men from different countries serve a soon-to-be-king. Readers patient enough to plow through lengthy and repeated descriptions of setting and weather can find dozens of characters who help to paint a rare picture of life three millennia ago. Most of the story is told from the perspective of Benaiah, one of David's Mighty Men, who help David take his rightful throne. Otherwise provocative transitions are awkward ("Then it all changed earlier that evening"). What the story lacks in tension and discernibly individual characters, it more than makes up in developing characters' longing for a homeland and seeking power in a well-drawn ancient world setting. This war novel has additional dimensions that make it unique in Christian fiction. (June) Copyright 2011 Reed Business Information.

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  1. sm2tron2
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    fantastic book
    April 20, 2012
    sm2tron2
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5

    great book, a very fast ready, I enjoyed it from cover to end

  2. shagcmb23
    SC
    Age: 25-34
    Gender: male
    4 Stars Out Of 5
    A great biblical story brought to life.
    April 4, 2012
    shagcmb23
    SC
    Age: 25-34
    Gender: male
    Quality: 4
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 4

    Author admits taking creative license with the story, so as long as you don't get hooked up on that, you can really enjoy this book.

  3. Christianfictionaddiction
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    Adrenaline pounding moments, courageous characters
    December 9, 2011
    Christianfictionaddiction
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5

    Enter the world of soon-to-be King David as told like no one else has done before. Benaiah is a powerful warrior in David's army, on the run from King Saul, who is bent on David's destruction. When David sends Benaiah to the Hebrew tribes to prove David's loyalty to his people, Benaiah finds himself in a clash with lions and with enemy warriors seeking to plunder a village and rape it's women. Benaiah gains crucial knowledge from a warrior before the warrior is killed, and races back to David's army to share about an imminent attack on their loved ones. David and his men soon find themselves fighting enemies on many fronts, both human and spiritual warriors alike.

    Day of War is a book for men who want permission to be men, men who want to be the warrior protecting their family. The novel is true to the events captured in 2 Samuel 23 and 1 Chronicles 11 in the Old Testament, with manly characters untouched by the feminist movement of modern times, heroes who are imperfect and even deeply flawed but who battle for what is right. I love the author's description of David the warlord, a man with confidence and authority, a "lion's face" of power, and yet a man who could play the lyre & sing achingly beautiful melodies, a man who prayed loudly and passionately into the night. That is indeed a man who boys today can aspire to be like.

    I found that the historical details of ancient Israel are rich, the scenes are vivid, the supernatural scenes mesmerizing. The story was taut and faced paced, with adrenaline pounding moments and courageous characters. Not only was the book thoroughly entertaining, but it brought to life David's story in a way that stirred my faith and, I believe, is written in a God-honoring manner.

    I greatly enjoyed this book and award it 5 out of 5 stars. I look forward to the next installment in the series!

    Warning: This book has violent scenes, and some readers may be turned off by the imagery used.

    Disclosure: Book was provided courtesy of the publisher, Zondervan, for the purposes of this unbiased review.

  4. Dave Jenkins
    Caldwell, Idaho
    Age: 25-34
    Gender: male
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    The Christian Life is a life of war
    August 24, 2011
    Dave Jenkins
    Caldwell, Idaho
    Age: 25-34
    Gender: male
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5

    Day of War is written by Cliff Graham a chaplain in the United States Army National Guard, and graduate of Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary. Day of War is the first book in a series titled Lion of War. This book explores a man named Beniah and David’s mighty men of Israel in 2nd Samuel 23 and 1 Chronicles 11. This book is a novel not a verse by verse treatment of 2nd Samuel 23 and 1st Chronicles 11.

    As I read this book I was encouraged by the courage David’s men took in the face of many battles, great danger. I was reminded in reading this book that the Christian life is a life of war against the flesh, the devil and the world. Reading this book will help you appreciate not only the struggles David’s men went through on his way to being the King of Israel, but it will also help you to understand and frame your own struggles in light of the war you are engaged in presently as a believer living in a sinful world.

    Reading fiction has never been my favorite genre to read as I prefer reading biblical and theological treatments, but I am slowly warming up to this genre. For a long time now, my wife has been encouraging me to read fiction not to get away from reading biblical and theological books but to get a break from all the heavy reading. I am thankful I listened to her advice, because Day of War is a well-written book and engaging book. Reading fiction I’ve noticed has helped my reading of other genres also.

    I encourage you to read Day of War in order to be reminded afresh that the Christian life is a life of war against the flesh, the world and the devil. The Christian is no longer in bondage to sin, but now serves a new lord-- Jesus Christ and is a new creation because of Jesus death, burial and resurrection. As a result of being a new creation in Christ the believer can serve Jesus our Risen Savior who defeated death and now empowers believers to live lives empowered by the Holy Spirit in order to engage as His soldiers in the work of the Great Commission. I recommend you pick up Day of War by Cliff Graham and be encouraged that the Lord we serve is truly victorious over sin and death, and now empowers His people to serve in His power for the sake of the advancement of the Gospel for His glory.

    Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Zondervan as part of their Blogger Review Program. 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 Commision’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

  5. Rel Mollet
    4 Stars Out Of 5
    Promising debut
    August 24, 2011
    Rel Mollet

    Cliff Graham's debut novel, Day of War, is a unique addition to the Biblical Fiction genre and I found much to like in this retelling of David's battles alongside his fierce and faithful warriors. I was particularly enamoured with Cliff's portrayal of the charismatic and conflicted David, as he and his rag tag army of mercenaries roamed and fought in ancient Israel. Jonathan is also drawn with intelligence and insight and while they do not cross paths in the time frame of this story, their abiding friendship is evidenced well. Benaiah, who carries much of the story, reflects the staunch, career warrior who comes to realise he betrayed his wife with his dedication to the fight. Cliff has a gift for characterisation and there is plenty of opportunity to display it with the numerous main players from Benaiah to David, Jonathan to Saul, Keth, Garab, Eliam and Josheb. Earthy conversations, bloody battles and gallows humour are thankfully all present reflecting the lot of a warrior rather than sanitizing a story that is unquestionably gruesome as well as heroic. Check out the Biblical books of Samuel or Chronicles and you will get the picture. While there are fearsome battles, wrestling with lions and suicidal missions, Cliff includes the frailties and fears of these men adding excellent texture and depth to the tale. On occasion, the descriptive prose was overdone and some scenes too drawn out, but I expect to see some tightening of the plot and language as Cliff continues to hone his craft in the remaining four novels. Men will thrive on these books but women, do not discount them! Anyone who loves a gritty and authentic read will be hooked by Cliff's stories and his marvelous characterisation and hopefully will venture back to the Scriptures which inspired Cliff to pen the adventures and failures of David and his Mighty Men.

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