When the king sends a decree to annihilate every Jewish man, woman and child in the empire, the lives of the exiles in Babylon are thrown into despair. But not all is lost. Ezra, a quiet but brilliant scholar, soon finds himself called upon to become the leader of his people... Read More
In Keepers of the Covenant, acclaimed novelist Lynn Austin weaves together the struggles and stories of both Jews and Gentiles, creating a tapestry of faith and doubt, love and loss. This biblical story demonstrates the everlasting hope displayed in God's unwavering love for His people.
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Page Count: 416
- Product type: Book
- Format: Softcover
- Release Date: Sep 2, 2014
- UPC: 9780764208997
- Volumes/Discs: 1
- Pages: 477
- Publish Date: Oct 7, 2014
- Language: English
- Audience Age Maximum: 0
- Audience Age Minimum: 0
- BISAC: "FIC042030"
- ISBN: 0764208993
Customer ReviewsWrite your own review
- A fantastic Biblical fiction book! by Kati on 11/18/2014
** I was given a copy of this book by Bethany House Publishers in exchange for my honest review of the book.
This book by Lynn Austin is the second in The Restoration Chronicles series. I read and reviewed the first one last year. I was very excited when the second book, Keepers of the Covenant, was available through the Bethany House blogger review program.
I am usually not a fan of Biblical fiction because I find it's a whole lot fiction and not a lot of Biblical fact. Lynn Austin is one of the few authors whose Biblical fiction I enjoy. She does a lot of research for her stories and provides a list of scripture references in the back of the book. She uses the actual scriptures when possible in the story.
This book is about the prophet Ezra as well as a few other fictional characters. The first part of the book deals with the decree of death (orchestrated by Haman). It was fascinating to read from the viewpoint of the Jews who thought they were all going to perish on the thirteenth day of Adar. I had never picked up when reading the book of Esther how widespread and brutal that decree could have been if the Lord (through Esther) hadn't stopped it. The second part of the book is about the return of more of the Jews from Babylon to Jerusalem led by Ezra.
This book is almost 500 pages long but don't let the length stop you. The story kept my interest the whole time and I never came to any parts that were boring or tedious. It was a great book! I think I liked this one better than the first one of the series.
- Historical fiction with a modern twist by SavingsInSeconds.com on 10/18/2014
The religious background of the Jewish return to Jerusalem is fascinating. Before reading Austin's books, I never really thought about the emotional impact that exile would create for those who felt so tied to the holy city. If you're looking for a book that will take you right to the heart of Christian history, check out Keepers of the Covenant. I received this book to review. The opinions shared here are 100% mine.
- Lynn Austin’s well written, well researched biblical fiction has reignited my interest in the book of Ezra. by Christian Shelf-Esteem on 10/17/2014
Lynn Austin’s well written, well researched biblical fiction has reignited my interest in the book of Ezra. This second book in The Restoration Chronicles opens in Babylon, the year 743 BC. Jews who had chosen to remain there during the first deportation under King Darius are later forbidden to leave under new rule. To their shock and dismay, Haman issues a decree bearing the seal of King Xerxes that in effect is a death warrant for all remaining Jews. This decree encourages citizens to kill and plunder their Jewish neighbors on the thirteenth of Adar. Those familiar with the story of Queen Esther will appreciate the view from the other side of the palace walls. The events that transpire on that fateful day are the catalyst to this story.
The author carefully intertwines the lives of three characters from three different locations within the Persian empire: Ezra of Babylon, Reuben of Casiphia, and Amina of Bethlehem. Each character is uniquely affected by the Thirteenth of Adar. For Reuben a seed of bitterness takes root, Amina finds hope, and Ezra hears God’s call to lead. Through their individual trials, God reveals his character, provision, and faithfulness. Other themes you will encounter revolve around worthiness, obedience, sanctity of life, forgiveness, spiritual apathy, and revival.
On the whole Keepers of the Covenant is an enjoyable read. The plot, while not incredibly fast paced, was steady and thought-provoking. There are life lessons for us all to learn through each of these characters. Amina’s story of abuse and rejection touched my heart. I thought it was a nice touch how Mrs. Austin used Hodaya, a character from Return to Me, to show compassion and demonstrate God’s love to Amina. Bitterness like Reuben’s affects members of my own family — they have allowed loss to drive a wedge between themselves and God. Readers will appreciate how Reuben’s life is changed when someone views him as something other than a wayward young man. I also found Ezra’s actions familiar as he teeters between obedience and legalism. Thankfully his wife, a true help-mate, points him toward reminds him of the merciful side of God. As women we have a special influence over the men in our lives – may we always strive to use it to His glory!
Once I completed the story I took another look at the book of Ezra and I could see the tiny details the author brought into her novel. It’s these subtle treasures that keep me coming back to Lynn Austin and her biblical fiction.
I am grateful to the Baker Publishing Group (Bethany House) for providing me with a copy of this title to review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
- This is Ezra and Nehemiah personified for the contemporary reader! by Jeri's Real Reviews on 10/14/2014
How do I begin? The story itself is a bookfull! Let me start by saying this is Ezra and Nehemiah personified for the contemporary reader. Lynn Austin has written Book 2 of the Restoration Chronicles with an eye to the human story behind the story. God's story, as recorded in the two books I mentioned has so many lessons for us about His covenant relationship, his mercy, obedience to God's law, but it also documents the history of the return of all the of Jews from exile and captivity in Babylon. Keepers of the Covenant relates the return of that remnant that did not go back the first time. It is filled with God's people trying to do the right thing. The author writes believable characters that speak to the reader in their human flaws and foibles. It reads easily and moves smoothly from chapter to chapter. I had a difficult time reading the story of Reuben, a Jewish boy who's father is killed in the battle on the 13th of Adar. The story begins with Haman convincing King Xerxes to have all Jews annihilated. A second decree allows the Jews to defend themselves. None the less, Reuben's father is killed in that battle. The ensuing anger on Reuben's part was hard to read but very convincing. He turns to a life of thievery and drinking. Ms. Austin writes this book as it may have been (probably was) lived. She does a good job of writing so we can relate to it. My only criticism would be that the author sometimes writes the dialogue and situations in a modern frame of mind and language making it a little confusing.
It stands out as an example of God's mercy and grace.She draws a clear picture of how we can sometimes drift into the way of the world without noticing it, just as some of the Jews did after living in Babylon for several generations. Living in the world as a Christian is a hard thing to do and not be drawn in. The main character, Ezra, says the following to his wife about that when talking about the earlier battle; "...believe there was a genuine spiritual renewal going on. It was easy to rise up in faith and heroism when we faced a clear-cut enemy. It's much harder to resist the enemy of gradualism and assimilation, much harder to maintain a passion for God when we're bogged down in the daily routine of life." Amen! Ain't it the truth?! This reminded me that faithful people since the beginning of time have faced the same struggles we face today. While not a blockbusting, all consuming read, I enjoyed this enough to think I would like to go back and read Book 1 of the Restoration Chronicles. I give Keepers of the Covenant four stars.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House, the publisher, in exchange for my honest review. These words are my opinion.