August 12, 2013

Children of the Lion by Peter Danielson

Children of the Lion is the first in a series that mixes biblical themes with fiction and tells an in-depth story of some of its characters. What am I doing reading a book like this you ask? When it is so obvious that it's not something that I would normally seek out. Well, it was sitting on my shelf, I don't know where it came from, but I decided to read it anyway.

Children of the Lion tells the story of Hagar, concubine of Abraham, and her trip from slavery to having the son of one of the most powerful men in the world at the time. It also tells of her slave friend Shepset, who was part of the household of Lot, and the shame and depravity she had to endure there. There is also Zakir, a blacksmith who takes in Ahuni, a boy who may be able to trace his lineage back to that of Cain himself. Because of what Abraham's God has told him, he runs his family with an iron fist, and plans to hold the land that God has given him.

Abraham was not a likable character in this book. He was so focused on his visions that he didn't manage his family well and allowed horrible things to happen because he wouldn't pay attention. His wife Sarah was just a horrible person (in my opinion) and her treatment of those under her reflects this. Lot and his family were able to make your eyebrows go to your hairline at their depravity, and poor Shepset was just a victim of their excesses. On her own, she didn't really have any personality though. She was kind of just a scapegoat for every sort of injustice you could imagine. Hagar was also kind of a flat character. Maybe this is the fault of her actually not getting a ton of time in the book, but while we see little glimpses of her feelings about everything that is going on, she seems easily distracted. Probably the best developed characters were Ahuni and Zakir. They had an interesting trade and a kind relationship and they were the characters you could feel the most emotion from.

Despite this book being over four-hundred pages long, it was way too rushed and I think the author tried to tell too much story in its pages. It seemed like things were constantly jumping about and not as fully developed as it could be. While I think the story of Ahuni was done real well, it seemed like that of Hagar and Abraham suffered because so much detail was given elsewhere. Considering they should have been powerful characters in this book, it seemed odd that the other story would have more precedence. Because it is biblical in nature, there are strong biblical themes that may not agree with everybody. I kind of knew that getting into the book after reading the description on the back. After all, when you have a fairly religious book talking about the events of Sodom, you know it's not going to take a light stand on things. So while not to my normal range of beliefs on a book, I can respect that it contains its authors views, but still warn the reader that they may not like the content. Also a warning, there is quite a bit of violence and reference to unconventional sex in this book.

I think more time and care could have been taken with a lot of this book. It was averagely good, but with a little more detail added and the characters fully developed, it could have been great. As it is, people interested in biblical history might like it and the rest of the series. Personally, I don't really have a need to read past this book.

Children of the Lion
Copyright 1980
464 pages

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