Keepers of the Covenant, Restoration Series #2
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When the battles come to an end, Ezra's brother Jude is dead and Ezra is required by the Law he so diligently studies to marry Jude's widow, Devorah, and provide an heir. Fatherhood changes Ezra, and he asks God to make a way for him and the other exiles to leave Babylon for good and return to Jerusalem. His prayers are answered and the exiles move to Judea to revitalize worship at the temple--but the fight to keep God's Law is never easy. As more and more of his community are tempted, a new battle emerges...this one for the survival of God's covenant and the souls of His chosen faithful.
Number of Pages: 416
Vendor: Bethany House
Publication Date: 2014
Dimensions: 8.50 X 5.50 (inches)
Availability: In Stock
Series: Restoration Chronicles
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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.
Praise of Lynn Austin's Restoration Chronicles
"...a powerful new historical series that brings the Old Testament books of Ezra and Nehemiah to life." --Library Journal
"Austin shines a bright light on ancient Jewish life and lands. Biblical fiction fans will cheer her latest offering, which bolsters this challenging genre." --Publishers Weekly
Darlene5 Stars Out Of 5Great Historical FictionApril 5, 2015DarleneQuality: 5Value: 5Meets Expectations: 5I really enjoyed Keepers of the Covenant by Lynn Austin. I had not read the first book in this series but felt this book could certainly be a stand alone. This is a book of historical fiction. We follow the story of the Jews when Haman gets King Xerxes to sign an edict that all Jews were to be killed, and once signed by the king, cannot be undone. You feel the pain of these people as they know the date of their executions. As they looked to God for strength, another edict came out that they could defend themselves, which they did. Heartache follows over family members that dont live through that date of battle. Ezra then goes before the king to see if the people could go back to the Promised Land. The king not only allows that, but decrees Ezra to be the governor of that whole area. Amina, an Edomite, is a handicapped young girl that feels the love of a Jewish woman, who also has a handicap. Amina has grown up in hatred and abuse, and loves the way the Jewish woman, Hodaya, treats her. On the day that the Jews are to be killed, Amina goes in search of the Jewish woman for safety. Hodaya ends up adopting Amina when her father is killed in the battle to kill the Jews. God shows grace in Hodaya bringing her up in the Jewish religion and customs, and Amina growing to love God. As Ezra takes his people back to the Promised Land, he travels all over the area to make sure people are obeying God so they have Gods blessing and protection. When he realizes that some of the Jews had married Gentiles, there is a lot of heartache when the leaders tell the husbands they have to get rid of their Gentile wives.
Lynn Austin has done extensive research into the Torah and Jewish customs. I felt I learned a lot reading this book, even though it is fictional. I received this book from bookfun.org in exchange for my honest review.
GazpachoClare, MIAge: 55-65Gender: female5 Stars Out Of 5This historical biblical fiction is moving, inspirational, filled with adventureApril 4, 2015GazpachoClare, MIAge: 55-65Gender: femaleQuality: 5Value: 5Meets Expectations: 5Have you ever read parts of the Bible and then tried to imagine the events as they occurred in the day to day moments? I used to wish there were more books written that way. This book is one that accomplishes that feat completely. It opens the windows and doors and allows us to live with friends and family of some well-known characters of biblical events. In this case, it's about Ezra, family man, scholar, Rebbe, husband, brother, friend, son, leader, and teacher. He struggled with daily life just like you and I do.
Sayfah and Amina were Edomites living near Bethlehem in a village of their own. Amina was crippled from her younger years. Now she was treated like a servant in her own home and scorned by most of the men. One day she met an older woman who also suffered from a weak, twisted leg. But she was a Jewess, a talented weaver who brought her goods to Bethlehem to sell in the market. They became friends. It was a friendship that would save Amina and Sayfah's lives years later.
In Casiphia, another province of the Persian Empire and near Babylon, Reuben was apprenticed to his father, David. Reuben was twelve when he learned that through his second in command, Haman, King Xerxes had pronounced a death sentence for all the Jews living in all his 127 provinces, on the thirteenth of the month of Adar. They were to be killed and plundered. Reuben's father was angry at his peoples' helplessness and began to secretly stockpile weapons he made at his forge. Reuben watched in concern as people began to buy the supplies for their protection. When the day finally arrived, the fighting was fierce. Greed motivated some of the hatred against the sons of Jacob. Their enemies wanted the plunder. While most of God's people survived, some were injured or killed. Reuben's father was one who never returned from battle alive leaving Reuben at thirteen in charge of caring for his mother and family. Since he was too young to operate his father's business, his uncle sold it to another blacksmith who would continue Reuben's apprenticeship. But Reuben was filled with rage and hatred. He took to the streets at night, and eventually became adept at thievery. He was then taken in by a gang of Babylonian robbers. He turned his back on God.
Ezra's brother, Jude was also killed in the conflict in the city of Babylon itself. Some time later, God laid on Ezra's heart to petition the King of Persia to allow him to lead a group from his community back to the Promised Land, Israel, to build up the city of Jerusalem. Once the petition was granted, Ezra was appointed governor over the province. This wasn't the end of the story, however, but the beginning. Somehow Ezra, his family and friends, Reuben and his band of Babylonian robbers, Amina and Sayfah and their adoptive Jewish family all intersect in a powerful way.
This may not be important for everyone, but for me living history is vital for our sense of identity and perspective on life. This book is artistically written to help the reader put faces and heart into people and events we may already have at least a nodding acquaintance with. It deepened my perspective and gave me a greater appreciation of the scope of God's love and protection. It also heightened my awareness of the types of difficult situations many have faced when putting God's justice into practice. This is a tremendous object lesson, carried out in the story line, how God tempers His justice with mercy and expects His followers to do likewise.
This message couldn't have been conveyed so aptly if the author hadn't written with authenticity and well-researched detail. Such a writing style drew me into the scenes and into the very hearts and minds of the characters. I was right there, experiencing the events unfold and feeling their pain and joys. Excellent writing.
The third element I enjoyed about this book was the complexity of the plot. You can't say that Keepers of the Covenant is all fast-paced adventure and action, nor is it completely character-driven. The author takes the best of both genres and seamlessly blends them. They are well-balanced. Readers may already know the basic story, but the draw is how the author pulls it all together and includes us in the ride. The book is filled with sensitivity and flair--adrenaline and contemplation. I'm definitely going to read other books by Lynn Austin.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary review copy of this book from bookfun.org on behalf of Bethany House Publishers. 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 Commissions 16 CFR, Part 255: Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.
CaroljoFarmington, MOAge: Over 65Gender: female4 Stars Out Of 5Out of Babylon, Into JerusalemMarch 23, 2015CaroljoFarmington, MOAge: Over 65Gender: femaleQuality: 5Value: 5Meets Expectations: 5Keepers of the Covenant by Lynn Austin is an excellent fiction account of Biblical history. Some characters are fictional and some were real Bible people. You will learn about the Jewish and Gentile cultures in the years prior to and after the decree calling for the annihilation of all Jewish people.
Lynn Austin has researched this time period until you feel you are living in that time of Queen Esther. I felt the emotions of the people as they faced terrible horrors but also great blessings from God. I felt this book was easier to read than the first book in The Restoration Chronicles. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys biblical fiction.
I was given this book by www.bookfun.org in exchange for my honest opinion
DeannaNEAge: 55-65Gender: female5 Stars Out Of 5Such faith !March 12, 2015DeannaNEAge: 55-65Gender: femaleQuality: 5Value: 5Meets Expectations: 5I found this story of the lives of Jews and Gentiles in this book to be a story of testing faith and love to the limit. A decree stating to kill all Jews and plunder all.. Faith that the Lord will deliver them. Then, the King later issues a decree that the Jews can fight back and protect themselves. What an up and down of emotions were written into this book! My heart broke for the turmoil the families lived each day. Their fight to survive. Then I rejoiced with them when the King put forth another decree letting them return to their homeland. Testing of faith to the limit! The Old Testament truly did come to life for me through the lives of these Jewish people. I would recommend this book to everyone who reads Biblical fiction.
I was gifted this book by the Book Club Network (bookfun.org) for my honest opinion which I have given.
Kathy5 Stars Out Of 5Keepers of the CovenantFebruary 19, 2015KathyQuality: 5Value: 5Meets Expectations: 5Loved it!!! Gives us insight into scripture. Then as now, not everyone is excited when God moves in our lives. Sometimes it means leaving things and even people behind in order to follow where God wants to lead us. It is all about God's timing and our obedience. Lynn Austin has now moved up to second place on my list of favorite authors.!!! Can't wait for book #3!!!