King's Shadow: A Novel of King Herod's Court

King's Shadow: A Novel of King Herod's Court

by Angela Hunt


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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 is from an inferior race, a people God will never accept or approve.

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 in Herod the Great's tumultuous court, where no one is trustworthy and no one is safe.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780764233364
Publisher: Baker Publishing Group
Publication date: 08/06/2019
Series: Silent Years Series
Pages: 384
Sales rank: 335,277
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

The author of more than 100 published books and with more than 5 million copies of her books sold worldwide, Angela Hunt is the New York Times bestselling author of The Note, The Nativity Story, and Esther: Royal Beauty. Romantic Times Book Club presented Angela with a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2006. In 2008, Angela completed her PhD in biblical studies in theology. She and her husband live in Florida with their mastiffs. She can be found online at

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King's Shadow: A Novel of King Herod's Court 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 13 reviews.
Kathae 11 months ago
Angela Hunt has not written anything I have not fully enjoyed, and this book is no exception. She took a tumultuous time in history, filled with power-hungry politicians, and made sense of it to the reader, even garnering compassion for some characters. This fourth book of The Silent Years series gives insight as to what it would be like to live under King Herod's reign as a citizen of Jerusalem, and especially his court. I had heard that he was a madman, and Hunt brought to life the horror, uncertainty, and dread associated with being close to the king. Much of the time I liked Salome, the king's sister. She was a rock for Herod to depend on. She was smart, and fiercely loyal to her family. The story is chronicled in the first person, from Salome's perspective, and also from that of her handmaid, Zara. Although Zara served Salome each day and lived in the palace, she remained connected to her Jewish heritage and faith in Adonai. Fans of historical and Biblical fiction will certainly want to read this book. It gives insight into the political and religious climate at the time of Jesus' birth. I received a copy of this book from the publisher, Bethany House, for review purposes. The thoughts expressed here are my own.
LydiaHowe More than 1 year ago
WHAT I THOUGHT ABOUT THIS BOOK My admiration for the author is strong. I can’t even imagine the number of historical documents she had to shift through to write this book, nor how much notetaking she had to commit to in order to keep everything straight. Considering the sheer amounts of Herod’s, Alexandra/Alexander’s, and Mariamne’s that were mentioned in this book I’m amazed by how smoothly the storyline flowed and how well I was able to understand what was going on. Seriously though, why did everyone use the same names? (Actually, not seriously, I understand why.) As far as storylines go, I thought the author made a bold (and wise) move by having the story be from the perspective of the “bad guy” – although you never feel like that when you’re reading. Most of the story is told by Salome, the sister of Herod, a person who was very loyal to him. Therefore, as we read about the atrocities that Herod committed, it’s through the eyes of someone who’s only seeing his best and always justifying his actions. If you were reading the book just paying attention to tone instead of content, then it would seem that everything that is going on is perfectly normal and acceptable. It’s only when you stop and consider what is actually happening that you realize how terrible it really is. This perspective was well done and made the story flow in a way that I’m not used to. Instead of focusing on emotions that you’d normally feel while reading about someone in history doing horrible things, those violent acts were just stated as facts and then you move on. For instance, when King Herod had someone he’d loved very much be executed, he then went crazy for a while. Since we’re reading from the perspective of Salome, we focus on her sadness that her brother is having a hard time, and the way she tries to help him, vs. the fact that the man is a brutal, savage madman. Because of this lack of emotion and the way Salome merely recites facts (“And then he had 300 Jews killed in a mad fit, but hey – the guy has to protect his throne.”) it made the book a lot more bearable to read than if it had gone into how horrible everything was. If this story was merely fiction I wouldn’t have liked the approach at all, but since it’s based on true facts I appreciated being able to read and learn this way. The other perspective is from Zara (a made-up character) who is Salome’s Jewish handmaid. Her chapters weren’t very often, but she did provide an interesting balance to Salome’s cut-throat and scheming ways. Since her perspective isn’t really prevalent in the story I felt like we didn’t get to know her well as a character, but I have nothing bad to say about her. The book covers about a 30ish year period of time, which isn’t something I generally like, but for the sake of this story, I think it was well-done. I’ve learned so much through this series, and I find myself being satisfied with King’s Shadow as the final book. CONCLUSION There’s a lot of horrible stuff that goes on in the book. So much plotting, killing, torture (not in detail) scheming, lying, and un-holy relationships. But, nothing was written in detail (probably about as much as if you were reading the Bible), and I think the author did a really good job of making the time period come alive without saying too much. I think I would recommend this book to people fifteen and older. RATING I’m giving King’s Shadow 4 out of 5 stars. I’m thankful to Bethany House Publishers for giving me a copy so I cou
grammy57 More than 1 year ago
This is the 4th book in a series, The Silent Years. I did not read any of the previous books and that really didn't matter. It can be a standalone book very easily. It is a fictionalized history story, but quite true to actual events. It is also a Christian fiction but not overly "Christian" or preachy, less than most of Angela Hunt's books, but still, God is displayed in Zara's life. Zara is the handmaid to Salome. The characters are very well written and quite believable. The story seems very true to history and at times is quite gruesome as Herod could be very cruel. The story goes back and forth between Salome and Zara and tells the story from two different perspectives. One, Salome the princess/king's sister, the other, Zara a Jewish handmaid. I enjoyed the book. Towards the end, I was afraid I would not want to read the ending but I was pleasantly surprised. If you enjoy Biblical or historical fiction you will enjoy this book. Angela Hunt is a gifted author and I enjoy reading her books. This is no exception. I give this 5 out of 5 stars. I requested and was granted this book through Netgalley to read and review. I was not required to give the review and the review is totally my honest opinion.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
Julie12 More than 1 year ago
This story cover the 400 years of silence between the Old and New Testament. It focuses on King Herod and his family, especially his sister Salome. Salome loves her brother, and I believe his power, so much, she just can't see any fault in him despite the fact that he does some really evil things and is mentally growing more mad. She hides these things in her brother and protects him no matter what. Zara serves Salome and she's my favorite character in the book. I enjoyed seeing her grow in her faith and care for Salome despite the fact that sometimes she didn't deserve it. I would have enjoyed having a bit more focus on her in the story but I really enjoyed what we did learn about her. I think the thing I enjoyed most about this story is how the author portrayed Herod and Salome in real terms. They weren't just evil but a combination of things like real humans are. They cared for their family yet could be quite ruthless to others. It was more realistic than just the portrayals of Herod I've read where he's evil and nothing else. This is a long book and it takes us through Herod's and Salmone's entire life. We see them grow, mature, and change for good and bad. There is a lot of information in this book but the author does a wonderful job of research and you feel like you are right there during that time. I enjoyed this book and am giving it 5 stars. *This book was provided to me by Bethany House. I received a copy of this book to review but I was not financially compensated in any way. The opinions expressed are my own and are based on my observations while reading this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This author has pulled off another great read!! A must for Biblical fiction readers!! I'm sad that it ended. This book will leave readers thinking about it and what it entailes long after you've finished it. I love Angleas style of writing. I love how she puts a lot of thought and research into her novels to make them what they are!! I enjoyed that it was told in 1st person by Salome and Zara by flipping back and forth between the two women. I learned a lot in this novel about how Herod came to power. How terrible it must be to want love and never received it. Poor Herod. A sad and jealous man if there ever was one and so very empty. I enjoyed that it was told in 1st person by Salome and Zara by flipping back and forth between the two women. I don't think I would want to be the court of anybody. It's too dangerous!! My one true king is Jesus Christ! How blessed it is to be a child of God. My thanks to Netgalley and Bethany House for a copy of this book. No compensations were received and all opinions are my own!!
TheBeccaFiles More than 1 year ago
King's Shadow takes the reader on a journey with an interesting perspective on the life and rule of King Herod through the eyes of his sister Salome and her handmaid Zara.The level of research that went into this story was highly evident. While creative license was taken to fill in the holes so that a full-length novel could be written, it was easily seen that the author took great effort to be respective of Biblical history. One thing that stuck out to me in this novel was the emphasis on what motivates people most in making decisions. There were several points in the story that you see Salome reflecting on whether Herod was being fueled by his heart or by fear. You could see that over time his confidence left him and fear started to run his life. It was interesting to me to see this as more of a slow fade rather than something that happened overnight. I think it's easy for us to look at others and think "I would never do that," but in this story we see a man who thought he would never do a number of things, and yet the more he felt threatened the more he responded in fear instead of looking to and trusting God. I was surprised by how emotionally connected I felt to this novel. The characters were impeccably developed and the setting was clearly palpable. While I admit that there were moments that felt like the story dragged, for the most part I found it highly engaging. This is one I'd easily recommend to Biblical fiction fans. *I received a copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers. Thoughts and opinions expressed are mine alone.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Author Angela Hunt's King's Shadow is a chatty book that tells about all the doings of King Herod's court. Different characters off their view of Herod's court and his interactions with Roman figures such as Marc Antony or Octavian. Tossed into the mix of the story is how Cleopatra's love affair with Marc Antony affects Herod's court. Overall, Hunt's book is a well-written one and while fictional her book does give insight into what might of happened during the time of Herod. The only drawback of her book is her characterization could have been a bit better. I had some difficulty tracking what character was telling their part of their story in her book. Recommend. Review written after downloading a galley from NetGalley
Randi_AMDFT More than 1 year ago
First and foremost, it is important to note that King's Shadow is book number FOUR in The Silent Years series- a series that takes place in the years of history between the Old Testament and the New. While this is book four, it can be read as a stand alone as well. Personally, this is the first I had read in the series, and did not feel like I had missed anything in not having read the previous first. I will also say that Biblical fiction is not a genre that I read a lot of so that factors into my thoughts on this book. Angela Hunt did a great job of drawing the reader into this time in history that is hard for many of us to imagine. You can tell that she has done her research on the history and culture and that reflects in the story. There are moments that might seem a little detail heavy, but personally I feel like for those who aren't already familiar with these times that is very important (though some might say it slows the story down a bit too). I will say that I had a hard time keeping up with and getting into this one, which I think in large part had to do with the various names... though I can say it's certainly not as bad as other Biblical names either. Still, when I'm uncertain how to pronounce certain names/places, etc it does make it more difficult to keep things straight as I'm reading and therefor fully enjoy the story as I might have otherwise. That being said, the writing was fantastic and the story was very interesting, even if it wasn't my own typical read. I love this idea of bringing those Biblical times and people into a story that gives us a better understanding of the culture and events of the time. Even though it is a fictional telling, I feel like Angela Hunt really does a great job of keeping as historically accurate as possible. I would say that anyone who has enjoyed Angela Hunt's biblical fiction works in the past or otherwise enjoy this genre will love the story even more! **I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher for consideration. All thoughts are 100% my own.
A_N More than 1 year ago
I found this book hard to follow and somewhat confusing. Salome's POV was hard to follow but I enjoyed Zara's. Probably because Zara is a little girl when the story begins. And I could see her playing with her clay doll. Ms. Hunt does a great job with the setting of both Herod's court and the battle waging in Jerusalem. It's quite a contrast between the royalty of King Herod's court and the battling struggle of Jerusalem. While I didn't connect with this particular story doesn't mean it's not a recommendable one. Biblical fiction is one of my absolutely favorite genre's because I always walk away learning something I didn't know. I knew there was 400 years of silence between God and His people until Jesus is born. I just didn't realize how silent it was. Ms. Hunt shows this perfectly! I kept hoping God would make His presence known because the chaos was overwhelming. Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the publisher. I was not required to write a review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
tickmenot More than 1 year ago
Watch your Back! Salome was the only sister of King Herod, and lived with him in his Jerusalem palace. Despite Herod ruling with an iron fist, Salome was his biggest fan. She constantly rationalized his bad behavior saying it was the result of his people not appreciating, and loving their king. Zara, who lost both parents because of their part in an uprising against Herod, becomes Salome’s handmaid—at the tender age of nine! Although Herod is remembered as a brute, the author humanizes him, and shows him as a misunderstood ruler, at least in Salome’s eyes. But his story cannot be told without the inclusion the many murders he was responsible for, including a number of his family members. Zara was the one bright light in this tale. She serves Salome well, without blaming her for the loss of her family. Eventually, she meets Ravid whose teachings bring her closer to God, HaShem. Other than the time she spent supporting Herod, Salome was a very self-centered individual. Herod was a troubled person who lived a disturbing life, which was the over-riding theme of this story. That shines through no matter how human the book tries to present him, even if that was his sister’s opinion. Biblical history fans will enjoy the thorny story in this 4-star book. Bethany House Publishing has provided bookreadingtic with a complimentary copy of King’s Shadow for the purpose of review.
Librarycataloger More than 1 year ago
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.
caribougirl More than 1 year ago
4.5 stars for this biblical historical fiction novel. This is the last book in the "silent years" series, which details the 400 years between the end of the Old Testament and the beginning of the New Testament. While this one can be read as a stand-alone and the story enjoyed, I think it's best to read the other books first as some of the events referred to in this novel are fleshed out in the previous novels. If I opt to re-read this one, I will read the others in advance in close succession. As I've read this series as it's come out, I was struggling to remember details of the events and people in the prior books and so some of the scenes felt a bit more tedious to me. If you do opt to read the prior books first, I would recommend them read in chronological order rather than series order - starting with Judah's Wife (book 2), then Jerusalem's Queen (book 3) and finally Egypt's Sister (book 1). Cleopatra plays a role in this book, so reading her story right before would be most helpful. This book is in first person perspective, switching points of view between Salome (Herod's sister) and Zara, a young Jewish girl who becomes Salome's handmaid. The changes in perspective are not at all confusing as both characters have a very different voice. Also, they are named at the beginning of each chapter (and never change within the chapter), so as long as you pay attention to the chapter headers, that helps as well. This book details the story of Herod's reign and the time leading up to the birth of Christ. Since the Bible doesn't speak to that time period, I've not really read anything about this period or about Herod in general, so it was fascinating to see what made him tick and why he responded to the wise men's tale of a baby king so harshly. All in all, this was a fantastic historical fiction piece. I would strongly recommend to lovers of Biblical Historical as well as anyone who wanted to know more about that time in Judean history. Special thanks to NetGalley and Bethany House for an advanced e-copy of this book. I was under no obligation to write a review and the thoughts contained herein are my own.