Review of Day of Atonement by David A. deSilva

Leah Courtney
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Day of Atonement appealed to me as soon as I read the book's description. Historical fiction set in the time of the Israelites between the end of the Old Testament and the beginning of the new. Fiction set in Biblical times is always interesting to me. Unfortunately, I didn't enjoy the book as much as I had anticipated.

From the book's description:

Review of Day of Atonement by David A.deSilva

In the blank pages between Malachi and Matthew, the course of an entire nation was changed . . . 

His brother, the high priest Honiah, enjoyed the authority of the high priesthood, and all important decisions needed his approval. But it was Jason who was shaping the future of Jerusalem and, with it, all Judea. He breathed in again, imagining that he could feel the wave of destiny impelling him forward toward his vision as he exhaled . . .

The Greeks have taken over the world, but Jerusalem is still the same backwater city Jason has always known. He wants to help his hometown rise to a new age of prosperity and influence. If that means stretching the terms of the city's divine covenant, so be it. But how far is he willing to go to achieve Greek greatness for this Jewish city? It will take the willingness of a handful of Jews to die rather than violate the covenant in order to turn the tide back to God.

Written by a historian and expert on the time period, the novel does have interesting insight into the political and religious influence of the day. And I was interested in knowing more about how the Israelite nation continued after the remnant had returned to their homeland and rebuilt the temple and the city of Jerusalem in the books of Ezra and Nehemiah.

The book, however, was dry. The characters weren't very developed, and I had a hard time relating to them or to the story. Because of that, and because this period of history is not one I know much about, I had a difficult time following the plot. If you enjoy history or have some knowledge of the setting of Day of Atonement, it may be a more enjoyable read.

I give Day of Atonement 3 stars and a PG rating. You can find the book on Kregel here and on Amazon here.

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Leah Courtney / Author & Editor

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