King's Shadow: A Novel of King Herod's Court
by Angela Elwell Hunt
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This is an account of two women in Herod's court and even though their stories are written in first-person, it was easy for me to follow because the author has labeled each chapter with the name of the person speaking. Salome is the sister of King Herod and she is very loyal to her brother; Zara is a young Jewish girl who is chosen to be Salome's handmaid at age nine and she remains in this position for many years. It is during these years that we see the intrigue that occurred during this king's reign, when deceit and murder were commonplace and political unrest was prevalent. Salome was a complicated person who greatly changed during this story but it was Zara that I loved best. Her dedication to Salome remained steadfast and her compassion and loyalty earned her Salome's respect. It is only when she is offered a chance for love and happiness in her own life that Zara considers leaving Salome. "Years ago I promised to serve you, but the time has come---I am now asking you to free me from that promise." (p. 266)
It is evident that Angela Hunt devoted a lot of research into these 400 years between the Old Testament prophets and the beginning of the New Testament and she has weaved true facts and fictional details into an enjoyable biblical fiction novel. Hunt does an excellent job with her mentions of Herod's harem, his willingness to kill even his family, and I was especially intrigued by the detailed descriptions of Zara's attention to Salome's hair! In the author notes Hunt reveals that hairbrushes and hairpins had not invented in the first century before Christ so she had to make adjustments in this story. All of these things will make fans of historical fiction appreciate this last book in the The Silent Years series.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House and I am voluntarily sharing my thoughts in this review.