THE TRIUMPH OF DEBORAH by Eva Etzioni-Halevy

Book Quote:

“She had never spoken to Asherah, or to Sisra, so his death meant little to her. But she grieved for her father, who had become a different man overnight. His proud regal bearing and dignified assurance had vanished. His strength had been sapped away as the juice of blossoms is sucked out by bees. In a matter of weeks his hair had turned gray and the skin of his face had assumed a sallow shade. Whenever she embraced him, he would hold her to his chest convulsively and shed tears into her hair.”

Book Review:

Reviewed by Ann Wilkes (AUG 6, 2009)

The Triumph of Deborah is a glimpse into biblical times through the eyes of three women who shape history: Deborah, the biblical prophetess and judge, Asherah, a Canaanite princess and Nogah, her half-sister.

All of the women are strategist in their own way, though Deborah alone has the position and authority to directly affect change for her people.

The triumph may be Deborah’s, but it is not hers alone. More of the novel centers on Nogah, the Hebrew slave and illegitimate daughter of Jabin, the Canaanite king. Deborah’s champion in battle, Barak, is a strong, determined warrior. He is also, in any century, a philanderer. His lustful dalliances exceed his enemy Jabin’s. He uses his maids, demands a night with Deborah as a reward, captures Asherah and forces her to marry him and still they all, sooner or later, desire him. The largest source of tension in the tale is in the various women’s pursuit of Barak. The battle scenes provided a descriptive panorama, but getting inside the head of one or more of the warriors would have made them more engaging.

Once again the Canaanites were thrown into disorder, stumbling over each other and their own dead and wounded, as they were overwhelmed by the charging enemy. Even as hardened a warrior as Barak was aghast at the bloodbath and the enormous number of men who, screaming in mortal agony as they were being pierced, slumped down before his eyes. Soon the earth was covered by heaps of the tangled bodies of men and horses, prey to the swarms of scavenging vultures in the sky.

It is always a pleasure to read about strong female leaders past and present. Too often when men write our history, the stories and contributions of the women are lost. If I were to categorize this novel, I’d call it an historical romance. In spite of the colorful, historical detail, the book’s driving force is the romance and the raw desires of the characters. But romance is not quite right, either. No matter it is a captivating read.

AMAZON READER RATING: stars-4-5from 44 readers
PUBLISHER: Plume (February 26, 2008)
REVIEWER: Ann Wilkes
AMAZON PAGE: The Triumph of Deborah
AUTHOR WEBSITE: Eva Etzioni-Halevy
EXTRAS: Reading Guide and Excerpt
MORE ON MOSTLYFICTION: More Sunday reading…

The Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison

More historical romance:

The Temptation of the Night Jasmine by Lauren Willig

Leonardo’s Swan by Karen Essex

The Sultan’s Seal by Jenny White


September 6, 2009 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags:  · Posted in: Facing History

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