Genre: Historical Biblical Fiction
You’ll like this if you like: The Story of Esther, Assassins, Royal Life, or Unfulfilled Love.
Cleanliness: This is written by a Christian author, but a good deal of it is written in the harem. There’s mention of a lack of clothes (since women in the harem don’t really wear them), among other things. Esther’s night with the king is mentioned and partially described, but it isn’t graphic.
Hero Type: The man she loves is the Protector type, while Xerxes is an Alpha.
Favorite Profound Quote: “Do not look only to where you expect danger to come from; danger that comes from where you expect it is hardly danger. True danger is that which you cannot see coming.”
Favorite Descriptive Quote: “The heat had penetrated my bones, and the marrow inside them had caught fire and turned to ashes. What blood had not evaporated from my body seemed to have crusted in my veins.”
A glittering Persian king has a vast empire that reaches farther than where the sun meets the horizon. He is bathed in riches and commands a frightening military force. He possesses power beyond any other mortal man and rules his kingdom as a god. Anything he desires, he has. Any woman he wants, he possesses. Thousands of them. Young virgins from all across his many lands.
A Jewish girl is ripped from her hut by the king’s brutish warriors and forced to march across blistering, scorched earth to the capital city. Trapped for months in the splendid cage of the king’s palace, she must avoid the ire of the king’s concubines and eunuchs all while preparing for her one night with the king. Soon the fated night arrives, and she does everything in her power to captivate the king and become his queen.
But wearing the crown brings with it a new set of dangers. When a ruthless man plies the king’s ear with whispers of genocide, it is up to the young queen to prevent the extermination of the Jews. She must find the strength within to violate the king’s law, risk her life, and save her people.
This is a story of finding hidden depths of courage within one’s self. Of risking it all to stand up for what is right.
This is the story of Queen Esther.
I really got drawn into the politics and plot of this story. I was always disappointed to put it down. Esther is a normal, relatable girl with extraordinary beauty, which draws the ire of other harem girls, but also the attention and affection of the king. A few parts were a bit uncomfortably detailed—not too much so—but it added dimension to the story. Esther comes to love one of the King’s soldiers named Erez. Of course, they never do more than look at each other, since she is the King’s Queen. It’s kind of heart-wrenching to see their love never fulfilled throughout the story, though at the very end, there’s a hint that after Xerxes dies, Erez will run away with her. Though the politics made me glad that I’ll never be in a harem—imagine having to share your husband (shudders)—overall, it was really interesting seeing the story of Esther fleshed out.
What bible books would you like to see fleshed out? Which biblical fiction novels are your favorites?