It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old…or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!
You never know when I might play a wild card on you!
and the book:
Cape Arago Press (November 9, 2009)
***Special thanks to E. G. Lewis for sending me a review copy.***
Edward (E. G.) Lewis was born and raised in Cincinnati, Ohio. A former newspaper editor and publisher, his articles have appeared in many national and regional magazines. He also wrote and directed corporate training films.
Mr. Lewis holds a graduate degree in Economics from Ohio State University and worked in Planning and Corporate Management before choosing to become a fulltime novelist. He writes both Biblical fiction and Commercial fiction.
A lifelong Christian with a burning interest in the life and times of the early Church, he feels we are privileged to follow in the footsteps of these earliest believers in the teachings of Christ. He and his wife, Gail, also a writer, live on the Southern Oregon Coast.
List Price: $18.99
Paperback: 318 pages
Publisher: Cape Arago Press (November 9, 2009)
AND NOW…THE FIRST CHAPTER:
There I was, relaxing on a hill, bothering no one. The sheep poked around the sparse pasture for the last clumps of edible forage while I sang Psalms and wove a basket. The summer sun had browned the grass and baked the Judean hills, turning them tan as barley bread.
My tongue swept around my mouth tasting the gritty dryness of the afternoon as another clod sailed overhead. It struck the ground in front of me and broke apart in a spray of dust.
All sorts of strange objects took flight whenever I tended the sheep. Overripe figs, half-eaten pomegranates, sticks, and now clods of dirt had sprouted wings and flew through the air.
The boys did it to upset me, to make me cry. Once upon a time it had worked, but no longer. If I cried, they won. And I would never let them win.
Jumping to my feet, I spun to face them.
Two more clods headed toward me.
Ducking under them, I rested my hands on my hips and glared across the ravine at the boys throwing them. “Stop, or you will be sorry,” I yelled and adjusted my headband.
Like the bigger shepherds, I carried my shebet, a small club, and my sling tucked in my sash. I tugged the sling out and stooped to gather stones. Imagining myself David, I threw my shoulders back and rolled the stones in my hand. Seeing their startled faces when one of these rocks bounced off their forehead would do my heart good.
But there would be no rocks to the head this day, I thought with a sigh. No matter how angry they made me, there was little I could do. On Mt. Sinai, the Lord gave Moshe the stone tablets containing the Law which commanded, Thou shalt not commit murder. The boys had nothing to fear and they knew it. Gavriel and Simeon could throw things, call me names, and torment me without fear of retaliation.
“Go sweep floors, little maiden,” Simeon hollered. “Comb wool, weave cloth, bake loaves.”
“Perhaps you should go to Jerusalem and apprentice yourself to a fuller.”
Simeon’s head snapped back. His eyes popped open wide.
Beside him, Gavriel snickered at the idea of seeing his friend removing lanolin from wool cloth by plodding knee-deep in a vat of stale urine.
Simeon’s face reddened.
Gavriel’s snickers became laughs. They grew louder until he doubled over, holding his sides and choking.
“Go away! You do not belong here,” Simeon shouted. He stuck out his tongue and did a little dance, daring me to do something about it.
“Do too belong here. I am tending my flock.” The smooth stone slid between my thumb and fingers.
Where to hit him?
“Sheep are for shepherds.” He gestured toward his loins. “Shepherds. Understand little girl?” He spat on the ground, clearing his mouth of the despicable word girl.
“There are shepherds and there are shepherdesses, you evil little boy. Take a look. What do you see? A shepherdess with her flock. Now go away, you are making the sheep anxious.”
A rock to where he pointed would give him good reason to dance. I gritted my teeth in frustration. Not only did Yahweh’s law rule my life, but Abba’s did as well. My father would never approve of me hitting a boy in the loins with a stone.
Abba’s stern voice echoed in the back of my mind. “Rivkah, my little dove, will you never learn? A gentle answer turns away wrath, but harsh words stir up anger. Do not fight with the boys. Exhibit the comely behavior and feminine demeanor befitting a daughter of Avraham.”
Easy enough for him to say.
“There is no such thing as a shepherdess,” Gavriel hollered.
I shook my fist at him. “Did an unclean spirit turn you into a goy?” He glared at me for calling him a gentile, not that I cared. “What about Laban’s daughters, Leah and Rachel? Have you never heard of Jethro’s seven daughters, of Zipporah the shepherdess and wife of Moshe?”
Behind me the sheep bleated nervously. I ignored them. The boys and their dirt balls not only upset me, they bothered my sheep as well. Sometimes they threw things into the midst of the flock scattering them. It took a lot of effort to chase after those sheep and bring them back together.
We stared daggers at each other across the narrow gully.
I fit a stone into the pouch of my sling and let it dangle at the end of its straps. Shepherds used their slings to drive off small beasts and vermin. Gavriel and Simeon qualified.
Swinging it up in a practiced arc, I whipped it around in a tight circle. The whirling blur above my head buzzed like a hoard of locusts.
The boy’s mouths dropped. They glanced at each other nervously, at me, and then at each other again.
My warning shot smacked the ground in front of their feet, boring into the dry soil and scattering dust over their bare toes.
Gavriel laughed. “Ha! You shoot like a girl, little shepherdess. You would miss the side of a camel if it were standing right in front of you.” He stuck his fingers in the corners of his mouth and made a face.
“May the Lord will your face to remain like that for the rest of your life.”
There were several more stones in my left hand. If they wanted war, war they would get. The boys jumped when they saw me reloading my sling.
But I never threw that second stone.
Shemu’el appeared behind them while they scoured the ground for ammunition. He is three years older than we are, almost twelve and soon to become a man. Shemu’el is tall, and stronger than Gavriel and Simeon put together. And, most importantly, he is my friend. It upsets him when the boys bother me.
They were so busy hunting for rocks, his footsteps went unnoticed.
Taking long strides, he marched up behind them and grabbed each of them by a shoulder.
I grinned when the boys winced and howled as he shook them.
“Go take care of your sheep, you little fools. They are beginning to stray.” He spun them around and gave them a shove.
Today’s battle may have ended, but our war had not. The boys shot me a look that promised revenge, then slunk away.
Shemu’el swung out his staff spanking them as they left. He turned, glanced up at the ridge behind me, and gave a start.
The expression on Shemu’el’s face made my stomach quiver.
He studied the hillside a moment longer, then, quick as a gazelle, leaped the ravine and ran to where I stood. “Look, Rivkah,” he whispered. “A lion.”
Cape Arago Press
North Bend, OR
This was a wondefully written book and I could feel myself transported to the time of Jesus’ birth and His death. While the book is fiction the author wove together truth from the Bible into the story to create a story that revolves around Rivkah and Shemu’el. Rivkah happens to be a shepherdess who just happens to be in the field with her father when the Angels announce Jesus’ birth and she also happens to sneak into the stable and Mary allows Rivkah to hold the infant Jesus.
While some things may see far fetched, one must keep in mind this is a work of fiction with Biblical truths inserted – which is why there is no mention of a shepherd’s daughter holding the infant Jesus in the Biblical account! Other things like Jews being sold as slaves and the uprisings that happened at the Temple are based on Biblical and historical facts. As one who enjoys history and fiction, this seems like the best of both worlds.
This book is not for the unmarried, young man or woman as there are hints of certain romantics that take place and longing thoughts on Rivkah’s behalf. Since these could stir up feelings in young people that are best left untested until marriage. However, this book was fine for a married person who can understand within the Biblical realm, the longing for ones spouse or betrothed. Practically speaking, one must understand while the characters were not married the customs that Rivkah lived under and participated in meant they were as good as married.
I recommend this book to those who enjoy history as well as fiction – the author did a wonderful job on weaving both of these components together to make a fast paced and gripping book. I look forward to reading the rest of the series.