Description: The Old Testament book of Daniel comes to life in this novel for readers of Lynn Austin's Chronicles of the Kings series or Francine Rivers' Mark of the Lion series.
Survival. A Hebrew girl first tasted it when she escaped death nearly seventy years ago as the Babylonians ransacked Jerusalem and took their finest as captives. She thought she'd perfected in the many years amongst the Magoi and the idol worshippers, pretending with all the others in King Nebuchadnezzar's court. Now, as Daniel's wife and a septuagenarian matriarch, Belili thinks she's safe and she can live out her days in Babylon without fear--until the night Daniel is escorted to Belshazzar's palace to interpret mysterious handwriting on a wall. The Persian Army invades, and Belili's tightly-wound secrets unfurl with the arrival of the conquering army. What will the reign of Darius mean for Daniel, a man who prays to Yahweh alone?
Ultimately, Yahweh's sovereign hand guides Jerusalem's captives, and the frightened Hebrew girl is transformed into a confident woman, who realizes her need of the God who conquers both fire and lions.
My Thoughts: Daniel has always been one of my favorite men from the Bible, due to his honor and the many miracles that occur throughout his life. But while there are plenty of books were Daniel is a side character, those stories often leave Daniel appearing inhumanly perfect, without fears or regrets. Whereas Mesu's novel shows him to have been just as human as the rest of us, though perhaps with a bit more faith.
I'll admit that I was hesitant when I first picked up this book. It starts off in Daniel and Belili's old age, leading me to believe that I was not going to be able to see the miracles from Daniel's life but only read as he recounted them. Fortunately, this was not the case as the story drifted back and forth through time, anchoring the narrative in the ending period of Judah's seventy years of exile before shifting back to detail everything that happened in those seventy years.
Belili is not my favorite of Mesu's heroines. She is not as likeable or as upright as some. However, I felt that I could relate to her struggles with belif. Like all of us, she has seen moments of God's goodness, but easily forgets them when faced with hardship. And it is only a long and hard road which leads her to trust Yahweh no matter the consequences to herself or others.
Despite my initial trepidation, Of Fire and Lions has become my second favorite of Mesu's novels (I think The Pharaoh's Daughter will always be my favorite) because of its honesty in portraying the characters' failings and regrets even as they seek to follow God in their daily lives. Trusting God is not an easy path, but it is rewarding if we take courage in God and see it through.
I have provided an honest review after having received an ARC through the author and publisher.
There is also a pre-order sale going on! Read this message from the publisher: We have some serious fun planned for you on release day, March 5th! You are going to want a copy of the book in your hands early that morning to participate in the Of Fire and Lions Launch Day Palooza! (More details to come on this 12-hour event in the March 4th Book Lover Newsletter.)
How do you get a book in your hot, little hands on launch day, you ask? We have three easy options for you!
- Pre-order your copy from WaterBrook Multnomah during their Pre-Order BOGO event. (Pssst...this option includes a free 2nd book!) https://waterbrookmultnomah.com/ofalbogo/
- Pre-order a copy from your favorite on-line retailer. Click here for options: https://mesuandrews.com/books/of-fire-and-lions/
– Visit your favorite local bookseller when it opens on launch day!
Regardless of which option you choose, you will want to be ready to start answering questions at 8:00 AM (Eastern Time). Make sure to check out the March 4th newsletter for more information!