Keepers of the Covenant

Keepers of the Covenant

by Lynn Austin


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In Their Darkest Hour, Where Would Hope Be Found?

In one life-changing moment, the lives of the exiles in Babylon are thrown into despair when a decree from the king's palace calls for the annihilation of every Jewish man, woman, and child throughout the empire in less than one year.

Ezra, a quiet but brilliant scholar, soon finds himself called upon to become the leader of his people. Forced to rally an army when all his training has been in the Torah, he struggles to bring hope in a time of utter despair, when dreams of the future--of family and love--seem impossible.

In Keepers of the Covenant, acclaimed novelist Lynn Austin weaves together the struggles and stories of both Jews and Gentiles, creating a tapestry of faith and doubt, love and loss. Here, the Old Testament comes to life, demonstrating the everlasting hope displayed in God's unwavering love for His people.

Praise of Lynn Austin's Restoration Chronicles
"...a powerful new historical series that brings the Old Testament books of Ezra and Nehemiah to life." --Library Journal

"Austin shines a bright light on ancient Jewish life and lands. Biblical fiction fans will cheer her latest offering, which bolsters this challenging genre." --Publishers Weekly

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780764208997
Publisher: Baker Publishing Group
Publication date: 10/07/2014
Series: Restoration Chronicles Series , #2
Pages: 480
Sales rank: 153,521
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.30(d)

About the Author

Lynn Austin has sold more than one and a half million copies of her books worldwide. A former teacher who now writes and speaks full time, she has won eight Christy Awards for her historical fiction. One of those novels, Hidden Places, has also been made into a Hallmark Channel movie. Lynn and her husband have raised three children and make their home near Chicago, Illinois. Learn more at

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Keepers of the Covenant 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 25 reviews.
PoCoKat More than 1 year ago
The Restoration Chronicles series by Lynn Austin brings the Old Testament to life. The Keepers of the Covenant is the second book in the Restoration Chronicles. If you are like me, I tend focus my biblical learning on the New Testament instead of the Old Testament. However, the Old Testament is full of amazing information about the journey that God's people were on before the life of Jesus. So why not just read the bible story instead of reading a book like Keepers of the Covenant. For one thing, a fictional retelling of Old Testament stories can help bring the stories to life for non-believers and believers alike. Reading a fictional account can help cement the information in your mind. It will also give believers the background to recount the story to others. I happen to have a particular non-believer in mind that I am going to pass this book along to so that as he enjoys the story he may become encouraged to pick up his bible again and explore it. What can be more dramatic than a decree from the Babylonian king's palace to annihilate every single Jewish man, woman and child throughout the Babylonian Empire. The Old Testament is filled with drama such as this. Author Lynn Austin does an incredible job of bringing the story of Ezra to life. More importantly she brings the story of the exiles to life. You feel their pain as they struggle against all odds to survive during these brutal years and be restored to Judah. Lynn Austin brings the Old Testament to life. The Restoration of God's People is an important portion of the Old Testament. The Keepers of the Covenant brings the people of that period in the fifth and sixth centuries before Christ (BCE) to life. I think this book will help its readers a deeper understanding of this period of the Restoration. Highly recommend.
MitziAB More than 1 year ago
5 Stars ***** out of five Historical fiction Keepers of the covenant, following Return to Me, tells the story of the common people during the time of Ezra. We all know the story of Queen Esther, and when I picked up this book I was thinking I would be reading another version of her life in the palace. Though this story takes place during her time, very little is mentioned about her. Lynn is a brilliant biblical historical author, on par with Ellen Gunderson Traylor, who was the first author I knew that wrote in this genre. Through Lynn's precise writing, deep research and vivid imagery, I walked the streets with the rebel Rueben, the foreigner Amina and saw life and faith through the eyes of them, and their families. Life was easier back then? More black and white? Reading this gave me a deeper understanding of not only what the Jewish people had to face, but also of the basics of the scripture we read today. God was a God of mercy, and even if some of the rules seemed harsh, both to them and to us, there was a way out for those who truly loved and worshiped him. I recommend this book to those who do not read a lot of fiction, as well as those who read predominantly fiction. It's an awesome book! Thank you to Fred and Cheri at The Book Club Network, Lynn Austin and BethanyHouse, a division of Baker Publishing Group for the opportunity to read this work of art. I received a free book in exchange for an honest review. A positive critique was not required. The opinions are my own.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Bookworm_Debbie More than 1 year ago
This is an absolutely fabulous biblical novel! It is very obvious that Lynn Austin spent a LOT of time studying scripture. She also had to have studied historical records and customs of the time in preparation for writing this wonderful book. This is the second book in what I consider to be a “true” series. By that I mean that you should read the first book before picking this one up. There is really only one character from the first book that I remember. But reading book one will help to set the stage historically for this novel. I was quickly captivated by the main characters in each location at the start of the story. I thoroughly enjoyed reading how each of their individual lives intersected with the others. I have read the story of Esther a number of times and heard some sermons from it. I have never “seen” such a vivid account of what life was like for the Jews in the months after the decree was written calling for their annihilation. That is truly what it seemed like to me. I could see their despair and feel their fear and heartache. Then after the Thirteenth of Adar each of the survivors had to figure out how to deal with the outcome. Were they going to accept what God had allowed to happen? Or were they going to spend the rest of their lives blaming Him and hating their enemies from that day? The stories of redemption and forgiveness are beautifully interwoven and presented. At the same time Ezra is searching the Torah doing all that he can to interpret the law of God so that the Jewish nation can be built up and follow God faithfully. The biggest question that he had to deal with was, “How can man find God’s balance between judgment and mercy?”
ksnapier475 More than 1 year ago
Lynn Austin is such a wordsmith. This historical fiction is set in t he times after Israel was sent into exile to Babylon. It begins with the influence Haman had over Xerxes to convince him to have all of the Jews kills. Then it continues with the events after Haman was killed and Xerxes allowed the Jews to defend themselves. This time period was brought to life with the people that Austin placed in her writing and the way she showed characters that were involved from both sides of this. The development of the characters made me, generally, care for them. I cannot list all of the ways that Lynn Austin was successful with this book. I am now going to go back to read the first book in the Restoration Chronicles. I would recommend this book for everyone. I was given this book by the publisher and in exchange for my honest review.
Virginiaw More than 1 year ago
This was a wonderful historical fiction book. It really brings the Old Testament to life. It shows the trials and tribulations that the Jews and Gentiles went through. I look forward to reading the other books in this series. This was number two in the series but you can read it as a stand alone. It is so thought provoking. It shows how times really haven't changed as much as we would like sometimes. I received this book from for a fair and honest opinion.
mom2boyz1 More than 1 year ago
This was the first book I have read by this author and I was not disappointed. Keepers of the Covenant is a biblical fiction based on the era after Israel's exile in Babylon. It begins with the familiar history when Haman tried to annihilate the Jews. Readers familiar with Esther will recognize the events in the beginning of the story. The Jews were prepared to fight for their lives on that fateful day, the thirteenth of Adar. They were successful in battle, but not without great loss. Ezra, is a scholar of the Torah. When his brother dies in battle, he finds himself in a position he never dreamed of-marrying his sister in law to carry on his brother's name. This is a beautiful story of how following God's will can turn tragedy into beauty. As one who has thoroughly studied the Torah and grieved over the falling away of the Jews since living in Babylon, Ezra decides it is time to return to the Promised Land. He goes before the king to request permission to return and it is granted. I enjoyed reading this fictionalized story and it has given me the desire to read the book of Ezra in the Bible. I also thoroughly enjoyed the parallel story of Amina. Amina was an Edomite and was just a young girl when her family was killed. She and her sister were taken in by a Jewish family. Her sister decided to return to their pagan home, but Amina stayed and started following God and Jewish customs. Some reviewers have found hers and Reuben's story distracting, but I think it added so much to the story. God's mercy and grace are evident throughout this story and I loved how it all came together. I plan on reading the other books in this series. I received a copy of this book from the Publisher and The Book Club Network in exchange for my honest review which I have given.
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MaxPA More than 1 year ago
I loved the book Keepers of the Covenant by Lynn Austin. I need a book that holds my interest or I can't read it. Keepers of the Covenant definitely held my interest. I didn't want to stop reading it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Mrs Austin adds her own magical twist to an Old Testament story one doesn't hear much. She brings characters to life, then she adds family members outside of Bible. Definitely will read more of Lynn Austin Biblical stories. Thoroughly enjoyed!
chrisGA More than 1 year ago
How amazing is God&rsquo;s Word and His way of dealing with His people&hellip;.and the author has managed to spin a story that captures the wonder of both. Lynn Austin has the ability to take the lesser- known pages of the Old Testament and turn them into a vibrant story of flesh and blood characters pulsing with the whole spectrum of human emotion, difficult and rewarding relationships, and personal and societal conflicts. In the first of this Restoration Chronicles series, <i> Return to Me</i> ,she tells the story of the first Jews to return to Jerusalem after the exile with Cyrus' blessing and support to rebuild the Temple. They knew they had been given a second chance to do things right, to have their sins finally forgiven, and to enjoy the presence of God in their lives. Great story. This second book is set eighty years later and can be read quite easily as a stand-alone. The story opens with Haman manipulating King Xertes of Persia to issue a decree that all Jews throughout the Persian Empire would be killed on the 31st day of Adar. With the characters to whom the reader can easily relate, we live the despair of waiting for the dreaded day of the slaughter and the pain of feeling God has deserted them in spite of His covenant promise to preserve a remnant. We share the palpable anxiety of waiting for the hordes of murderers to descend. We share their mixed feelings as they deal with the aftermath of the fighting. And this is only the first part of the book! The genius of the author is to make these lesser known characters live for us. Ezra is an unlikely hero, a timid scholar forced from his quiet life of Torah study to be his people&rsquo;s community and war leader. He is shown as totally human, conflicted by his hatred for the enemy and his faithful obligation to not allow that hatred to take control of his life. We find ourselves eagerly following his growth into the spiritual leader his people need and the evolution of his prayer life. The remaining parts of the book take us on the journey back to Jerusalem and his ministry there. I wholeheartedly recommend this book to anyone looking for a fantastic story. I am equally appreciative of The Chronicles of the Kings 5-book series about the days of King Hezekiah and Ahab as well as the moving, nonfiction book based on the author&rsquo;s trip to the Holy Land, <i> Pilgrimage: My Journey to a Deeper Faith in the Land Where Jesus Walked </i> I received this book through The Book Club Network in exchange for my honest opinion.
NadyasMommy More than 1 year ago
Have you ever read a story that was so riveting that you simply couldn&rsquo;t put it down? Where the characters are so real you feel what they feel, their joy, their sorrow, their fear, their pain? Lynn Austin&rsquo;s Keepers of the Covenant is one of those books!  Keepers of the Covenant is the second installment in Austin&rsquo;s Restoration Chronicles series. In this book we journey along side Ezra during one of the darkest times in the Old Testament. Ezra&rsquo;s story parallels that of Queen Esther from the perspective of those living outside the palace and their battle for survival even after the Queen&rsquo;s petition was granted. I thoroughly enjoyed this book, so much so that I sought out the 1st book in this series, Return to Me, as well as all of the titles in the Chronicles of the Kings series. I found the characters to be well rounded and believable and that Ms. Austin brought dimension to these figures of old.  In my opinion, Ms. Austin did for Ezra and the Jewish people what Charlton Heston and Yul Brynner did in Cecil B. DeMille&rsquo;s rendition of The Ten Commandments, she created an experience that leaves one on the edge of their seat waiting for more. I further appreciated the Biblical references that accompany each book so that I could compare these stories with those found in the Bible. For those who enjoy Historical and/or Biblical Fiction, Keepers of the Covenant is a must read!  *** Note: Bethany House Publishing provided me with an e-book pre-release copy of Keepers of the Covenant for review purposes, but the thoughts and opinions expressed are my own. ***
ShareeS More than 1 year ago
Keepers of the Covenant is the second book in the Restoration Chronicles by Lynn Austin. In a wonderful tale that makes the Old Testament come alive with three smaller stories that meld into a great tale of God&rsquo;s sovereignty and loving-kindness. The most common spotlight when one reads Esther focuses on the lives of Esther and Mordecai. Keepers of the Covenant uses a creative method focusing rather on the people outside of the castle. I cannot fathom what the Jewish people went through when the decree was issued to annihilate the Jews. The incredible amount of faith required by those living during the time of the decree is displayed in such an inspirational manner in the story. I loved the way that the lives of the three main characters, Ezra, Reuben Amina were altered and touched by the Almighty One. Ezra was forced into being the Jewish leader and does an exemplary job of leading his people, while living the life God has planned for him. He fulfills the law in the scrolls by marrying his dead brother&rsquo;s wife and giving him a legacy by providing his wife with a son. The ability of Ezra to walk in faith when he was faced with numerous challenges of following the Torah is uplifting. Ezra is a great role model. I especially liked the story of Amina and the faith that she displayed when her Gentile family was killed during the battle on the 13th of Adar. I was reading intently as Amina was adopted into a Jewish family, converted to a new faith and turned from her Gentile roots to follow the Almighty One, just like her adoptive mother Hoyada. Rueben&rsquo;s story really runs the gamut, from when he loses his father to marrying Amina and turning away from his life of sin of stealing, running with the wrong crowd and trying to fill the void left by the death of his father and the loss of his blacksmith shop. So much maturing is displayed, not only mentally, but spiritually. Ms. Austin&rsquo;s story is not a joyful, fun trip for any of the characters, but their way of living out what they believed is impressive. I highly recommend this book and even if the reader has not read the first book in the series, it was easy to follow. It has the propensity to be a life altering read. I received this book from the Book Club Network and Bethany Publishers in exchange for my honest opinion.
Jaquelyn More than 1 year ago
This is the first book I&rsquo;ve read that was based in biblical days.  In the past when reading the back cover of a book based in those times it never caught my interest.  It didn&rsquo;t seem like the kind of book that I could be interested in, or that I would be able to relate to the characters in any way.  After reading Keepers of the Covenant I can honestly say my opinion has changed.  I stepped out of my comfort zone and I&rsquo;m so glad I did!  Lynn Austin was great at making the Bible come to life.  She thought of things that I never would have imagined but now totally make sense.  Reading this book made me want to go to Ezra&rsquo;s story in the Bible and read it with new eyes.  I have not read book one in the Restoration Chronicles series, but don&rsquo;t feel like I had to in order to enjoy this book.   Through out the story I rejoiced with them, ached with them, was scared with them, and worshipped an Almighty God with them.  There are several main characters in this story, which helped me see what was going on in different parts of the area.  Ezra is a man who enjoys keeping to himself and studying the Torah.  When a decree is made by the king to kill every Jewish person, no matter how young or how old, his world is thrown into chaos.  Ezra is forced to become the leader of his people and to encourage them when he feels discouraged himself.   Reuben was a young boy when the decree was made.  He works as an apprentice for his father in his blacksmith shop.  Reuben longs to fight instead of just letting the others kill his family and friends.  Will his dad allow him to do what his heart desires?  Amina&rsquo;s life hasn&rsquo;t been great and the decree doesn&rsquo;t seem to make it any better.  Her Edomite family and neighbors are excited when they hear about the decree.  Does this mean her life will finally be better?  All of their lives are thrown into turmoil, and one day changes the rest of their lives.  Can God be glorified?   I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys Historical Christian Fiction.  It kept my attention and I couldn&rsquo;t wait to find out what was next.  I received a copy of this book from Bookfun and the publisher in exchange for my honest opinion.  All opinions expressed are my own.  
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Keepers of the Covenant is a wonderful book. It keeps your interest from beginning to end. It also gave me new insight in the bible and its message. Wonderful reading!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I couldn't get into it as much as the Chronicles of the King series. Hopefully the series will pick up.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
VicG More than 1 year ago
Lynn Austin in her new book, &ldquo;Keepers of the Covenant&rdquo; Book Two in The Restoration Chronicles series published by Bethany House Publishers takes us into the life of Ezra. From the Back Cover:  In Their Darkest Hour, Where Would Hope Be Found? In one life-changing moment, the lives of the exiles in Babylon are thrown into despair when a decree from the king&rsquo;s palace calls for the annihilation of every Jewish man, woman, and child throughout the empire in less than one year. Ezra, a quiet but brilliant scholar, soon finds himself called upon to become the leader of his people. Forced to rally an army when all his training has been in the Torah, he struggles to bring hope in a time of utter despair, when dreams of the future&ndash;of family and love&ndash;seem impossible. In Keepers of the Covenant, acclaimed novelist Lynn Austin weaves together the struggles and stories of both Jews and Gentiles, creating a tapestry of faith and doubt, love and loss. Here, the Old Testament comes to life, demonstrating the everlasting hope displayed in God&rsquo;s unwavering love for His people. The Restoration Chronicles is a series that should be read in order and in an unhurried relaxed manner. There is so much packed between each books pages  that you just want to sit and savor every moment as the story unfolds. Not all of the Jewish people left Babylon when the decree was given that they could, so most are trying to rebuild Jerusalem while the others are scattered. &ldquo;Keepers of the Covenant&rdquo; follows the story lines of Ezra, Nehemiah and Esther.  Ms. Austin has taken the task of running those books together to make a cohesive whole.  Quite an undertaking that she does with incredible accuracy and realism.  Reading this book was somewhat similar to taking a time machine and going back to then. There are great characters that are well written.   I felt that I met these people and was traveling with them.  I got to know them, appreciate them and go through what they went through.  Ms. Austin is a highly talented author who brings you into the immediacy of the moment.  I recommend this book highly and am greatly looking forward to the next book in this excellent series. Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Litfuse Publicity Group.   I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission&rsquo;s 16 CFR, Part 255: &ldquo;Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.&rdquo;
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I received a copy of KEEPERS OF THE COVENANT by Lynn Austin from Bethany House. It is part of a series known as The Restoration Chronicles. This one is book two. I hadn&rsquo;t read book one, and I did not feel lost while reading this novel. I will have to look for the first installment next. Whenever I see a book published by Bethany House, I know it will be top-notch quality. KEEPERS OF THE COVENANT was no exception. Sadly, it took me longer to review than normal, but that was due to outside forces. I have read other books by Lynn Austin, so I knew in advance this would be filled with action, dynamic family elements, and believable characters. FIRE BY NIGHT is my favorite of her novels, although KEEPERS OF THE COVENANT now comes close. KEEPERS OF THE COVENANT involves a decree given by the king that all Jewish men, woman, and children be put to death in a year. It will occur on the thirteen day of Adar. Although I read a lot of historical fiction, this was the first novel I had read about this specific topic. I highly recommend this piece of Biblical fiction. It earns five stars from me.
iStudyScripture More than 1 year ago
Lynn Austin&rsquo;s well written, well researched biblical fiction has reignited my interest in the book of Ezra. This second book in The Restoration Chronicles opens in Babylon, the year 743 BC. Jews who had chosen to remain there during the first deportation under King Darius are later forbidden to leave under new rule. To their shock and dismay, Haman issues a decree bearing the seal of King Xerxes that in effect is a death warrant for all remaining Jews. This decree encourages citizens to kill and plunder their Jewish neighbors on the thirteenth of Adar. Those familiar with the story of Queen Esther will appreciate the view from the other side of the palace walls. The events that transpire on that fateful day are the catalyst to this story. The author carefully intertwines the lives of three characters from three different locations within the Persian empire: Ezra  of Babylon, Reuben of Casiphia, and Amina of Bethlehem. Each character is uniquely affected by the Thirteenth of Adar. For Reuben a seed of bitterness takes root, Amina finds hope, and Ezra hears God&rsquo;s call to lead. Through their individual trials, God reveals his character, provision, and faithfulness. Other themes you will encounter revolve around worthiness, obedience, sanctity of life, forgiveness, spiritual apathy, and revival. On the whole Keepers of the Covenant is an enjoyable read. The plot, while not incredibly fast paced, was steady and thought-provoking. There are life lessons for us all to learn through each of these characters. Amina&rsquo;s story of abuse and rejection touched my heart. I thought it was a nice touch how Mrs. Austin used Hodaya, a character from Return to Me, to show compassion and demonstrate God&rsquo;s love to Amina. Bitterness like Reuben&rsquo;s affects members of my own family &mdash; they have allowed loss to drive a wedge between themselves and God. Readers will appreciate how Reuben&rsquo;s life is changed when someone views him as something other than a wayward young man. I also found Ezra&rsquo;s actions familiar as he teeters between obedience and legalism. Thankfully his wife, a true help-mate, points him toward reminds him of the merciful side of God. As women we have a special influence over the men in our lives &ndash; may we always strive to use it to His glory! Once I completed the story I took another look at the book of Ezra and I could see the tiny details the author brought into her novel. It&rsquo;s these subtle treasures that keep me coming back to Lynn Austin and her biblical fiction. 4 stars I am grateful to the Baker Publishing Group for providing me with a copy of this title to review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission&rsquo;s 16 CFR, Part 255 &ldquo;Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.&rdquo;
KyKim More than 1 year ago
Keepers of the Covenant by Lynn Austin is book 2 in the Restoration Chronicles, but is a good stand alone book. Bringing the Old Testament to life, as you read about how Haman got King Xerxes to sign a decree to annihilate all of Jews, and Queen Esther getting him to sign another decree. The little crippled Edomite girl, Amina, who befriends the older Jewish woman, Hodaya, and finds she is has more in common with her than she first thought.  Then Ezra a quiet scholar and teacher of the law, wanting to take his family home, and leading the Jews back to Jerusalem from Babylon. This story comes to life as you meet his wife Devorah, their children, family, and friends and see how they live. I loved my journey through these pages of the Old Testament, Lynn Austin has done a terrific job of making me feel as if I was right there taking part with them with her writing of this story. She has added some characters to help tell the story.  This is the first book I have read by this author but will not be the last, I have found a new favorite author! At the end of the book she tells you where you can read the stories/verses that she has used in this book in your own Bible. I  highly recommend this book to anyone who like to read Biblical stories. I received a free copy of this book from Bethany House in exchange for my honest review rather it be good or bad. Thank you.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Imagine you are a Jew in the time of the Babylonian empire when Haaman's edict comes out. Your death is on a certain date. Lynn Austin places us in the middle of the story of Esther and to the edict that saved her people from the evil Haaman and his people. Following families from all over the Babylonian Empire. Yet there is one unexpected twist in the story. A young Edomite girl who has a crippled leg and is not even loved by anyone in her family. She loses her family that night when the Jews can defend themselves. Amenia is a girl who longs for acceptance. Longs for love of a family. Longs for everything, but it seems that it has alluded her. Amenia is adopted into a Jewish family. They are taken care of by a grandmother who is of the faith but is....wait I will let you read this part or else I will completely spoil the novel for you. Reuben loses his father that night that the Jews defended themselves. He faces a long road ahead and he is struggling. He winds up going down the wrong path. He struggles to gain the right perspective. The way he should be living. Who will he marry? Will he stop going the wrong way? Will Reuben stay living as an exile or return to the land? Debvorah, is a mother who is struggling with the edict but joyful when they found out they can defend themselves. Her husband, Jude is ready to fight but loses his life. Ezra (very key character in novel) is his brother and knows the Torah very well. Ezra is struggling what to do and how the law applies to it. Follow Ezra through the journey, from beginning to end. Lynn Austin's portrayl of this in Biblical time period is very real. She paints the picture so very well. It is well written, and includes the Scripture at the end of the book. I give this book a five star review. ***I received this book from Bethany House Publishers for my honest review. All opinions are my own.****
Teresa_Konopka More than 1 year ago
This sequel to Lynn's &quot;Return to Me&quot; is a great book but not as phenomenal as the first.  Still, even for readers who have not read &quot;Return to Me,&quot; no details will be missed, and there will be no confusion.  This book starts with the story of Esther and goes through a generation of lives.  There is Ezra the priest who is called to move Jews to Jerusalem and eventually govern a rebellious people in ways he could never imagine.  There is Reuben, a young boy who loses his father in an apartheid against Hebrews.  His life spirals out of control as he strays from the God who took everything away from him.  There is Amina, a crippled Gentile who hates her life and is beaten by her father and uncles.  There is Devorah, a woman who is married to the love of her life but must choose what to do when circumstances turn her world upside down.  Warriors, potters, priests, thieves, weavers and more come together as we see how individuals view the curses and blessings God bestows upon His people.  The fine line between discipline and grace is discussed as real-life characters struggle to obey the Torah.  Politics play a part too as God's chosen people must bend to the edicts of the Persian king.  True love and false love are played out too as hearts dance the dance of destiny.  Great book.
Heart2Heart More than 1 year ago
When God brought the Israelites through the desert out of Egypt and eventually into the Promised Land, filled with milk and honey, He made a covenant with them. To abide and obey by His laws, the 10 Commandments and to live according to the ways He established for them. As long as they lived as He wanted them, they would receive God's blessings over their land and their lives. But if they failed and went back on their vow to God and instead began to worship the gods of their forefathers, God would lift His hand of protection from them and they would receive His judgment instead. Like their forefathers, the Israelite failed and instead took up the practices of worshiping the false gods and left their one true God. Now that judgment came to their lands and Babylon took possession of their promised land, the people have been exiled in Babylon. When King Cyrus allowed for them to return to their homeland in Jerusalem, many instead decided to stay and instead continued in their practices of the worshiping of false gods and adhering to the ways of the Babylonian people. This is precisely where Keeper of the Covenant by author Lynn Austin begins. It is the second novel in the Restoration Chronicles and now follows the life of the prophet Ezra at the height of the Jewish people's planned execution by Hamon, the advisor the for King. A decree has been issued to eliminate the entire race of people and once the decree has been issued bearing the King's seal, it cannot be repealed. Now Ezra is being asked to lead the Jewish people to find an answer for God in how they can survive the coming execution with little less than a year remaining before that happens. While Ezra attempts to search the ancient Torah scrolls for answers, the people begin to wonder just what they can do to ensure their survival. It will truly be a race war between the Jews and the Gentiles as both sides begin to prepare for a one day battle that will pit them against one another unless God, Himself, intervenes and remembers the promise of the covenant He created when He left a remnant of His people behind. I received Keeper of the Covenant by Lynn Austin compliments of Bethany House Publishers and Litfuse Publicity for my honest review. I did not receive any monetary compensation for a favorable review and the opinions contained here are strictly my own. This is such an exceptional book that follows the biblical books of Esther, Ezra, Jeremiah and Nehemiah in breathing life into the struggles that befell the Jewish people that were stuck in exile in Babylon when they refused to leave the first time. It takes you ground level into what it must have felt like on both side as Lynn creates characters to enable you to see things from their point of view, from Devorah and Ezra, Jewish people who love the law of God, and Amina, a crippled Gentile who struggles with finding a place in the city being cast aside by her own family and accepted by an elderly Jewish women Hodaya, who can relate to her in more ways than one. This takes those books of the Bible and expands on them as if you were literally there when it all happened. That is what makes this novel so amazing to read for me. It's historically accurate following the biblical outlines provide from the Bible and casting a set of characters for us to support and follow all the way to the end. Easily a flawless 5 out of 5 stars.