Wednesday, July 2, 2014

God King (Bethlehem Books)

When it comes to teaching kids about history, there are many methods you can use and many sources you can draw from. For example, you could spend a whole year on Egypt and still barely scratch the surface. Unfortunately, most works on Egypt only look at the "celebrities" or hot spots, like King Tut, Cleopatra, Nefertiti, the Great Pyramids, and the Sphinx. If you want to learn more about other periods or figures, you're going to have to do a little more research to find some books. One of those books is entitled God King, and I will be reviewing it today.

God King is written by Joanne Williamson and is the second book I have read from Bethlehem Books. The first one I read was Hittite Warrior by the same author. Like Hittite WarriorGod King is part of their Living History Library series. This book, however takes place in the year 701 B.C. during the twenty-fifth dynasty in Egypt, also known as the Kushite dynasty. For perspective on this time in history, Sennacherib was king of Assyria and Hezekiah was king of Judah during this time.

The story begins with peril and excitement. A young boy, Taharka, is on a crocodile hunt with his uncle Embutah and some slaves. Suddenly, a crocodile attacks and severely injures one of the slaves. Using his quick thinking and medical skills he has studied, Taharka is able to save the man. Normally, this kind of heroism would be applauded. However, Taharka is no ordinary boy. He is the son of the pharaoh, who is considered a god in Egypt. Touching a slave was a tabu and made young Taharka unclean. Even though he was one of many children of the pharaoh, and not even a particularly important child, he still knew he would be punished...little did he know what his punishment would be.

Taharka's "punishment" came swiftly. The pharaoh was dying, but before he died an ancient ritual must be performed to choose his successor. Everyone, Taharka included, thought it would be the older boy, Shabataka. Shabataka was groomed nearly his whole life to become the next pharaoh. In a cruel twist of fate, Taharka was "chosen," and his "punishment" was that he must become the new pharaoh. To him this felt like being forced to live in a cage, a prison sentence if you will. With his uncle Embutah and brother Shabataka as his guides, years pass and Taharka begins to get used to being pharaoh. He still doesn't like all the duties that come with it, nor does he feel completely safe with the ever-looming threat of Assyria to worry about.

I won't give too many more details away, but the action picks up midway through the book, when Assyria threatens to attack Judah and Taharka must decide whether or not Egypt is to assist them or not. This was a well-researched and well-written book. If you look on Wikipedia, you will see that the names are accurate to this time, and the same holds true for the Bible, as you can find reference to Taharka and Assyria in both 2 Kings 19 and Isaiah 37. In the past few months, I have grown to love the writing of Joanne Williamson. I wish I had discovered her as a child, but will make sure my children discover her. I also hope Bethlehem Books will continue to print some of her other works as well.

This book was provided to me for free by Bethlehem Books in exchange for an honest review. If you found this review helpful, please click here and hit Yes!