Garden of Madness
Think you know the story of Nebuchadnezzar and his madness?
That sounded terribly cheesy.
I saw "Garden of Madness" and I felt drawn to it. So, I got it, not even knowing what gem I had asked for.
I begin reading it, and was drawn into this Babylonian world so familiar to the biblical and historical one I was familiar with, and yet so new, fresh, and dark.
I couldn't put it down, I flew through it, and I didn't even bother to say, "just one more chapter", as I knew that would never come to be.
And I finished it in a matter of hours. All 337 pages of it. Done. I think I might have broken a new personal record.
The cast in this novel....are stunning. Honestly so. So well crafted and third dimensional. I believe the greatest example would be Queen Amytis. While she is a true life person, she was brought to so much life. And it was done stunningly. When the book starts out, we see her as a stern, unfair, and, yes, cruel mother who seems to hate her daughter (Tiamat, the main character) for no apparent reason than she just does.
But as the story progresses, we see Amytis for who she truly is, a woman who is falling apart, but must hold a throne together without the support of a King and husband.
And of course, her chilliness towards Tiamat is well explained, though, to divulge such facts now would be breaking the River Song code of "spoilers!"
Queen Amytis is only one, from Amel-Marduk, Tiamat, Pedaiah, Shadir, Daniel (of course Daniel was included! In fact, through this read, I've grown to truly desire to meet Daniel. What an amazing man he was. I think he is the sort of fellow I could confine in without being scolded, just kindly directed) and Nebuchadnezzar. His character was made so much more clearer. It was...amazing.
The whole book through, I remained gripping the sides of my proverbial chair, and thinking to myself, "there is no way this can turn out happy for everyone. There is no way Tiamat can fix this".
And you know what? I was right.
It came shockingly, like, a bucket of cold water I should have expected.
None of us can fix messes in this world. None of us can right wrongs.
At least, not alone.
But everything does turn out good for everyone in the end. (Expect for Shadir, but do I look like I care about him?).
But not my Tia's hand, nor by Daniel's, or any extremely awesome Jewish guy who I adored before Tia thought it cool. *hipster glasses*.
But by Yahweh's. things were an awful mess until she reached out to him, and begged for him to "take the wheel" as Carrie Underwood says.
That ice bucket of water reminded me of how often I do the same thing, I try to take control, to work things out all on my own, when Yahweh yearns to take it from my shoulder so he can deal with it.
It's a retelling of that mysterious time period when Nebuchadnezzar went through his humbling madness. It painted a picture of how the kingdom was kept safe by attackers or enemies within the palace.
But it's more it's a novel about searching and finding truth, be it pleasant or painful.
It's about pride, and learning to humble yourself before God.
It's about the complicated relationships within families, the ties, the bonds and strengths that hold us together.
And it's about trusting your well being, your very life, into God's hand; letting Him shelter you and yours beneath his wings, and giving the fight, whatever it is, into his capable hands.
And even with all that, I feel I haven't praised this book enough.
February 28, 2013
Fascinating trip to ancient Babylon
Have you ever wondered what it would be like living in the times of the kings of the Bible? What if you were of the house of Nebuchadnezzar? Say, the daughter of the great king himself? I love history, the actual life of history. I always want to know more. And Tracy L. Higley has certainly satisfied my curiosity and held my attention with this new book, Garden of Madness.
Garden of Madness is set at the end of the seven years of Nebuchadnezzar's banishment, when he roamed as a madman, as a beast, until he submitted to the one true God, the God of the Jews, Yahweh. Nebuchadnezzar's youngest daughter Tiamat has just lost her husband (whom she was forced to marry to form a political alliance), the son of the imprisoned Jewish king Jehoichan. Now she is faced with another impending forced marriage alliance to one of her mother's cousins, a prince of the Medes. Unbeknownst to Tiamat, the mage Shadir is plotting his own takeover of the throne through marriage to Tia by a man of his choosing. A third possible contender for Tia's hand in marriage is the unwilling Pedaiah, the brother of Tia's deceased husband.
With so many unwanted marriage options, along with ferreting out the reason for the death of Tia's husband and two murders in the palace, Tia seeks solace in the presence of her father Nebuchadnezzar, to whom she remains loyal even through his madness. She tries to find answers through the ways of her people using the magic of the powerful mage Shadir and through sacrifice to the gods. When she finds herself in impossible, terrifying circumstances she begins to believes she is going mad. After all, isn't madness hereditary?
In her search for answers, Tia has to decide if she is willing to follow where truth leads, and if she is willing to make choices based on that truth. Following truth leads to surprising personal decisions and outcomes for Tia and her family.
Tracy Higley does a wonderful job answering the question of what might have happened to Nebuchadnezzar during his seven year absence, who might have reigned in his stead, how a takeover of the kingdom may have been presented, and a look into the life of the beloved Daniel. To find out more about this book visit Tracy's website. By the way, I'm going to the website myself to check out all of her other books!
In order to comply with new Federal Trade Commission regulations, please note that this book was provided compliments of the Booksneeze program.
July 19, 2012
UNEVEN, BUT ENJOYABLE
King Nebuchadnezzar's daughter Tiamat has patiently waited seven years for her father to recover from the mysterious madness that causes him to prowl about on all fours like an animal. Since the mysterious death of her husband and the murder of a nobleman in the palace, Tiamat realizes she must discover who is behind their deaths. As her mother plots to wed her to another to secure the kingdom, Tiamat seeks to help her father by accepting the help of Pedaiah, who takes her to her father's old friend, Daniel.
"Garden of Madness" is a fictionalized novel of the daughter of King Nebuchadnezzar. While it is very interesting in its use of characters such as Daniel and Nebuchadnezzar, at times it was uneven, especially in the first half of the novel. The pace really picked up in the second half. Although the novel couldn't seem to make up its mind whether it was a religious mystery or a religious romance or something in between, it was very enjoyable. I found it to definitely be a 3 star novel.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneezeÃÂ®.com <http://BookSneezeÃÂ®.com> book review bloggers 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 CommissionÃ¢ÂÂs 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : Ã¢ÂÂGuides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.Ã¢ÂÂ
June 20, 2012
Historical Fiction Conspiracy Thriller
Reading through the Book of Daniel, IÃ¢ÂÂve wondered at times how it was that proud King Nebuchadnezzar managed to hold onto his kingdom during his seven years of insanity. God willed it, of course, but how did events play out? In her new book, "Garden of Madness," Tracy Higley uses her imagination to give readers one possibility.
The book is a work of historical fiction. Several characters are mentioned in the Bible and in other historical documents from the time. Other characters, including the main character, Princess Tiamat, are HigleyÃ¢ÂÂs inventions. Higley explains more about this in a note following the story.
As for the story, I loved it! Princess Tiamat was a fun character who cared deeply for the people in her life, longed to be loved in return, and determined to seek truth whatever the cost. And the truth of this novel comes straight from the true story of the Bible in which this fictional story is set: the cause and resolution of King NebuchadnezzarÃ¢ÂÂs seven years of insanity.
Though "Garden of Madness" is a work of historical fiction, itÃ¢ÂÂs also a turn-the-pages-quickly, conspiracy/suspense thriller. I enjoyed reading this work and recommend it to you. Thomas Nelson Publishers sent me a complimentary copy in exchange for my honest review.
May 30, 2012