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  • Writer's pictureCaroline

King's Shadow | Book Review

Updated: Sep 8, 2019

Photo by Daniel Williams

Back Cover

Their lives couldn't be more different, but their goal is the same: survive King Herod's rule.

Two women occupy a place in Herod's court. The first, Salome, is the king's only sister, a resentful woman who has been told she's from an inferior race, a people whom God will never accept or approve of.

The second woman, Zara, is a lowly handmaid who serves Salome, but where Salome spies conspiracies and treachery, Zara sees hurting people in need of understanding and compassion.

Powerful and powerless, Idumean and Jew, selfish and selfless -- both women struggle to reach their goals and survive each day within Herod the Great's tumultuous court, where no one is trustworthy and no one is safe.

My Thoughts

This one was different! It's set during the Silent Years, between the Old and New Testaments. The book ends right after the birth of Christ, with Herod's slaughter of the baby boys in Bethlehem and his subsequent death.

King's Shadow is not your typical novel. It's more of a creative, continuous telling of true events, through the eyes of two different main characters. I kept expecting an obvious climax, but even though there were climatic moments, it didn't have a typical story arc, probably because this author did copious research and almost all of the book is true to history. Besides the story of Herod the Great's reign, it was interesting seeing the story of Antony and Cleopatra from a different angle.

Salome was such a conflicted character! She had some noble intentions, but she had an almost cold-blooded side, too. She was so focused on being loyal to her brother -- and to staying alive by proving that loyalty -- that she was blind to many things. She was definitely a compelling character.

Zara was the completely fictional main character, and her journey was more poignant and added sweetness to the story. I was surprised at how young she was when she became handmaiden to the king's sister -- nine years old!

I enjoyed this book for the historical aspect. It was stunningly well-written and well-researched.

4 stars.


*I received a free copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for my honest review. All opinions expressed are my own, and I was not required to post a positive review.*

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