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Delilah: A Novel

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  • Posted November 6, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Not your average Samson & Delilah retelling.

    I am not a connoisseur of biblical fiction. The story is fashioned in such a way to exhibit a snapshot of the current times within the plot, and the first 1o pages were tough to get through for some reason, but as I continued on and reached an understanding of the flow, it soon became a richly rewarding experience.

    Some may recognize the legendary story of Samson and Delilah that is used as a theme here. The main gist is that Delilah bewitches Samson with her famed beauty and betrays him by cutting his long hair, stripping him of his heroic powers. The novel doesn't jump right into the heart of that story, instead it guides you in slowly as you are introduced to each character one at a time. There are multiple narratives here, with the first person narrative being told by Delilah as her story began when she was ten. Delilah remained my favorite 'part' throughout the book, as the others were told in third person but with the views of several of the other characters. This typically jars me and turns me off. After I delved deeper into the story of Samson, and returned to the Delilah in first person narrative, it helped me appreciate the technique more. Halfway through the book, Delilah becomes more retrospective and leaves sentences heavy with foreshadowing.

    Delilah is portrayed as the girl who simply wants to dance as a form of worship, and that is an honor she has accomplished along with her best friend, or heart-sister, Alyah. The two girls dancing together are a source of beauty and awe, as Delilah's features exhibit the night sky, and Alyah exudes the Sun with the blond hair and lighter coloring. They are treated as a precious commodity within their world of Temples and the Five Cities, and are among the best of the dancers. Alyah is just as much a part of this author's story as Delilah or Samson are; as they each share a love for the other in an amazing triangle that holds them together like a knot to the bitter end.

    There is a bit of social structure that needs to be learned here, with the promotion of New Moon to Rising Moon to Full Moons; and the High Priestess ruling for the City's goddess within a Temple, who is at odds with the Prince of Ascalon.. at first a bit overwhelming for me but I eased into the story and let it become familiar to me in its own time. Along with the social structure there is also the political structure that is a large part of the story; as the struggle for power and strength in itself is a major underlying theme with Hebrews vs. Philistines, Temple vs. City, man vs. woman.

    And then we finally meet the mighty Samson. Samson's beginnings are dubious and of questionable heritage but he quickly befriends Orev the Harper, and they travel together while swiftly becoming famous. Samson decides to protect a specific road for travelers, aptly names the Lion's Path. As he learns this is not the best choice for him, we follow them along travels, and shake our head at the warnings that Samson does not heed. He goes to the famed City of Ascalon. We reach our climax as we wonder what happens to Samson as he enters this city of the Philistines who see Samson as a criminal due to Hebrew's not sanctioned by Samson committing crime in Samson's name. The climatic chapter begins with quote from the age-old story that is told by the harper Orev:

    "Then there came the day that mighty Samson .."Read the rest at http://www.theburtonreview.com/2009/11/book-review-delilah-by-india-edghill.html

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