Sunday, October 5, 2014

Review: Keepers of the Covenant (The Restoration Chronicles #2) by Lynn Austin

  • Series: The Restoration Chronicles (Book 2)
  • Paperback: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Bethany House Publishers (October 7, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0764208993
  • ISBN-13: 978-0764208997

Book Description

 The Old Testament Comes to Thrilling Life in the Latest from Lynn Austin

In one life-changing moment, the lives of the Jewish exiles in Babylon are thrown into confusion and despair when a decree arrives from the king's palace in Susa. It calls for the annihilation of every Jewish man, woman, and child throughout the empire on the thirteenth day of Adar, in less than one year. Ezra, a quiet Jewish scholar and teacher, is suddenly called upon to lead the community as they seek God for a reason for this catastrophe. When a second decree arrives, authorizing them to fight back, Ezra is thrust into the role of military leader as they defend themselves against their enemies.

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.

About the Author

 For many years, Lynn Austin nurtured a desire to write but frequent travels and the demands of her growing family postponed her career. When her husband's work took Lynn to Bogota, Colombia, for two years, she used the B.A. she'd earned at Southern Connecticut State University to become a teacher. After returning to the U.S., the Austins moved to Anderson, Indiana, Thunder Bay, Ontario, and later to Winnipeg, Manitoba.

It was during the long Canadian winters at home with her children that Lynn made progress on her dream to write, carving out a few hours of writing time each day while her children napped. Lynn credits her early experience of learning to write amid the chaos of family life for her ability to be a productive writer while making sure her family remains her top priority.

Extended family is also very important to Austin, and it was a lively discussion between Lynn, her mother, grandmother (age 98), and daughter concerning the change in women's roles through the generations that sparked the inspiration for her novel Eve's Daughters.

Along with reading, two of Lynn's lifelong passions are history and archaeology. While researching her Biblical fiction series, Chronicles of the Kings, these two interests led her to pursue graduate studies in Biblical Backgrounds and Archaeology through Southwestern Theological Seminary. She and her son traveled to Israel during the summer of 1989 to take part in an archaeological dig at the ancient city of Timnah. This experience contributed to the inspiration for her novel Wings of Refuge.

Lynn resigned from teaching to write full-time in 1992. Since then she has published twelve novels. Eight of her historical novels, Hidden Places, Candle in the Darkness, Fire by Night, A Proper Pursuit, and Until We Reach Home have won Christy Awards in 2002, 2003, 2004, 2008, and 2009 for excellence in Christian Fiction. Fire by Night was also one of only five inspirational fiction books chosen by Library Journal for their top picks of 2003, and All She Ever Wanted was chosen as one of the five inspirational top picks of 2005. Lynn's novel Hidden Places has been made into a movie for the Hallmark Channel, starring actress Shirley Jones. Ms Jones received a 2006 Emmy Award nomination for her portrayal of Aunt Batty in the film.

My Review

The Restoration Chronicles series by Lynn Austin brings the Old Testament to life. The Keepers of the Covenant is the second book in the Restoration Chronicles. If you are like me, I tend focus my biblical learning on the New Testament instead of the Old Testament. However, the Old Testament is full of amazing information about the journey that God's people were on before the life of Jesus.

So why not just read the bible story instead of reading a book like Keepers of the Covenant. For one thing, a fictional retelling of Old Testament stories can help bring the stories to life for non-believers and believers alike. Reading a fictional account can help cement the information in your mind. It will also give believers the background to recount the story to others. I happen to have a particular non-believer in mind that I am going to pass this book along to so that as he enjoys the story he may become encouraged to pick up his bible again and explore it.

What can be more dramatic than a decree from the Babylonian king's palace to annihilate every single Jewish man, woman and child throughout the Babylonian Empire. The Old Testament is filled with drama such as this. Author Lynn Austin does an incredible job of bringing the story of Ezra to life. More importantly she brings the story of the exiles to life. You feel their pain as they struggle against all odds to survive during these brutal years and be restored to Judah.

Lynn Austin brings the Old Testament to life. The Restoration of God's People is an important portion of the Old Testament. The Keepers of the Covenant brings the people of that period in the fifth and sixth centuries before Christ (BCE) to life. I think this book will help its readers a deeper understanding of this period of the Restoration.

Highly recommend.

No comments:

Post a Comment