Of Fire and Lions: A Novel

Of Fire and Lions: A Novel

by Mesu Andrews

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Overview

The Old Testament book of Daniel comes to life in this novel for readers of Lynn Austin's Chronicles of the Kings series or Francine Rivers' Mark of the Lion series.

FINALIST FOR THE CHRISTY AWARD®

Survival. A Hebrew girl first tasted it when she escaped death nearly seventy years ago as the Babylonians ransacked Jerusalem and took their finest as captives. She thought she'd perfected in the many years amongst the Magoi and the idol worshippers, pretending with all the others in King Nebuchadnezzar's court. Now, as Daniel's wife and a septuagenarian matriarch, Belili thinks she's safe and she can live out her days in Babylon without fear—until the night Daniel is escorted to Belshazzar's palace to interpret mysterious handwriting on a wall. The Persian Army invades, and Bellili's tightly-wound secrets unfurl with the arrival of the conquering army. What will the reign of Darius mean for Daniel, a man who prays to Yahweh alone?

Ultimately, Yahweh's sovereign hand guides Jerusalem's captives, and the frightened Hebrew girl is transformed into a confident woman, who realizes her need of the God who conquers both fire and lions.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780735291867
Publisher: The Crown Publishing Group
Publication date: 03/05/2019
Pages: 400
Sales rank: 219,017
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.20(d)

About the Author

MESU ANDREWS is the Christy Award-winning author of Isaiah's Daughter and numerous other novels, including The Pharaoh's Daughter, Miriam, and Love Amid the Ashes. Her deep understanding of and love for God's Word brings the biblical world alive for readers. Mesu lives in North Carolina with her husband, Roy, and enjoys spending time with her growing tribe of grandchildren.

Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1.
It was a day I dreaded all year long.

I picked up my polished-bronze mirror and tucked a stray tendril of gray curls beneath my new linen head scarf, noting in the reflection his fidgeting behind me. He always had trouble tying a jeweled belt, but his fingers seemed more trembly this morning. Was he nervous too?

I set aside my mirror and crossed the bedchamber, nudging his hands aside. “Let me do it.” Though both his hands and mine were spotted with age and lined with bulging blue veins, at least mine were still nimble.

He cradled my head and placed a kiss on my forehead. “Thank you, love. What would I do without you?”

I finished the knot and gazed into his rheumy eyes, as smitten as I’d been sixty-six years ago. “Let’s hope you never find out.” I laced my arm through his. “Let’s go downstairs. The children are waiting.”

He opened our chamber door, and lively family sounds floated up from the courtyard below. We descended the stairs slowly since Daniel’s feet pained him. Waiting in our lush green courtyard were three generations of our descendants seated around four long rectangular tables. Four daughters with their husbands. Twenty-one grandchildren. And thirty-two greats.

Two conscientious grandsons met their saba Daniel at the bottom of the steps, one supporting each elbow. I was left to follow—alone. The snubbing had begun.

“I’m fine,” he protested. “Tend to your savta.”

“But Ima said your feet have been paining you, Saba.” Our oldest daughter’s firstborn offered an obligatory nod at me. “Shalom, Savta.”

I returned the nod with a half smile but remained silent, refusing to mock the peace such a greeting offered. One glance at our oldest daughter, Kezia, assured me there would be no shalom today. She stole sullen glimpses at me while standing beside her husband, Sheshbazzar, the prince of Judah’s exiles in Babylon. Our other three daughters stood arm in arm with their husbands, eyes trained on the abba they all adored.

“Abba and Ima!” Sheshbazzar, whom we lovingly called Shesh, shouted over the dull roar of chattering children and our fountain’s happy splashing. “Take your place at the head of the table.” He’d already arranged two brightly colored cushions at the end nearest the stairs and rushed over to support Daniel’s arm while he lowered himself. I mouthed a silent thank-you and sat quietly beside my husband.

Shesh took his place at Daniel’s right. Kezia sat beside her husband with several of her children and grandchildren filling spaces at the large table around us. She avoided my gaze.

“You look lovely today, Kezia.” I spoke across Daniel. “Is that a new robe, dear?”

Her eyes sparked. “Are you implying I spend too much money at the market, Ima?”

“No, dear. I…” Nothing I said to Kezia would be safe. “You are beautiful, Daughter. That’s all.”

Her cheeks pinked, and she looked quickly away, beginning a conversation with one of her daughters about the toddler on her lap. A great-grandson I’d met only a few times. Kezia’s eyes crinkled with a smile that lit her features. She was a good ima, at her best when her children surrounded her. Had she learned anything from me—before her hatred sprouted and grew?

The servants began a triumphant march with pitchers of juice and wine and platters laden with various meats, fruits, and vegetables. This was a day our dear Egyptian servant, Mert, anticipated all year long, a day when her best recipes from both Babylon and Jerusalem found their way to our table.

My husband hoisted his silver chalice in the air, repeating his annual vow. “If I forget you, Jerusalem, may my right hand forget its skill. May my tongue cling to the roof of my mouth if I do not consider Jerusalem my highest joy.” Adults lifted goblets of wine and children their cups of juice. Our children had seen Jerusalem only in their minds through the stories Daniel told of his childhood in the palace. The rugged beauty of Zion. The grandeur of Yahweh’s Temple.

With our first sip came the rattle of the courtyard gate, and I caught the glint of morning sun off a soldier’s shield. Ten of King Belshazzar’s guards charged into our celebration.

One, wearing a captain’s gold breastplate, marched straight toward my husband. “King Belshazzar commands the presence of Daniel, exile of Judah, chief of King Nebuchadnezzar’s counselors.”

“I am Daniel.” He stood, and the captain gripped his arm and fairly dragged him toward the gate.

“Wait!” I lunged for my husband, but the other soldiers blocked my way.

My Daniel looked over his shoulder, offering a weak smile. “I’ll be back, love. Save some roast lamb for me.”

Panic clawed at my throat while ten strong soldiers led away the beating of my heart. I turned to the fruit of my womb, who moments ago had shunned me. Now everyone stared at me, pleading silently for direction. Angst filled my belly. Who needed food when my Daniel had been taken to the banquet of a madman? “I’m going upstairs to pray. No one eats a bite until Daniel returns.”

***

The captain’s fingers bit into Daniel’s arm, pulling him into the narrow street. Daniel tried to hurry his pace, but his feet were too tender. Perhaps conversation would slow the man down. “I haven’t visited the palace since Nebuchadnezzar released me from service twenty-four years ago. Did King Belshazzar mention his reason for summoning me?”

The only sound came from rippling water in the canal alongside the street. Silence was typical of a loyal eunuch. The captain’s wide gold collar proclaimed his vow to serve the king unto death and the king’s reciprocal commitment to lifelong provision.

Daniel stumbled, landing hard on his right foot. He braced his hands against his knees, wincing in pain.

“Are you well?” The captain’s concern was rather surprising.

“Yes, thank you. Could we slow our pace a bit?” Before the eunuch could answer, his stomach growled, and Daniel chuckled. “You and your men should have joined us for this morning’s meal. Mert is a fine cook.”

The captain’s features remained grim. “The king needs you now, Lord Daniel. Please.” He extended his hand in the direction of the palace, and Daniel felt the prickly flesh of urgency.

Continuing in silence, they left the walled city of Babylon’s wealth and noblility and ascended the marble stairs to the Processional Way. While crossing the wide avenue splitting Babylon’s municipality, they passed the three-storied Ishtar Gate, the military complex, and finally entered palace grounds through its southern gate.

The pounding of drums and trill of a flute floated on a chill autumn breeze, and a sudden presence pressed Daniel to his knees. With both hands over his ears, he blocked out distraction and held in the silent whisper:

MENE, MENE, TEKEL, PARSIN.

Mene: I have numbered the days of Belshazzar’s reign and brought it to an end.

Tekel: He has been weighed on My scales and found wanting.

Parsin: I have divided his kingdom and given it to the Medes and Persians.”

“My lord!” A huge hand lifted Daniel to his feet. “My lord, are you well?”

Shadows cleared from the prophet’s eyes, and he gazed into ten pale faces. “Yes, yes. Thank you. We must hurry to the king.”

The captain placed a giant arm around Daniel’s waist and fairly carried him toward the grand stairway. “I’ve heard you are a seer. Did you have a vision, my lord?”

Daniel sensed something genuine in this man but knew a eunuch’s loyalty was first and always to his king. “If you have any family in Babylon, Captain, they should leave the city tonight.”

His brows shot up, but a slight nod communicated understanding. Any Babylonian with a measure of sense knew King Cyrus of Persia had built an army that would someday overtake Babylon—the empire King Belshazzar had weakened by overspending, poor council choices, and constant revelry during the past fourteen years.

The captain hoisted Daniel up the grand stairway and into the main entrance. They hurried through what had once been pristine hallways, now covered in dust and frayed tapestries. Music grew louder as they neared the throne hall but with no accompanying sounds of laughter or merriment.

“I thought the king was hosting a banquet,” Daniel said.

“He was.” Was it fear or loyalty that kept him from saying more? Guards at the throne room opened the double doors, revealing the colossal space filled with tables, terrified noblemen, and musicians whose timid notes tested the eerie silence.

A man wearing a gold crown rushed toward Daniel. He’d seen the young king only once, on the day of his coronation, when Belshazzar entered Babylon in a chariot on the Processional Way. He was much shorter up close and much older tonight.

“Are you Daniel, one of the exiles my great-grandfather brought from Judah?”

Daniel barely had time for a nod before the king aimed a shaking finger at a side wall. “The inscription. See it? None of my wise men could interpret it.”

Daniel followed his gesture and stared at the exact words from his vision blazing with an unnatural fire on the plastered wall. “I’ve heard the spirit of the gods lives in you,” the king said, his panic-stricken features but a handbreadth away. “Interpret the message, and I swear by my father’s life I’ll dress you in purple, place a gold chain around your neck, and make you the third highest ruler in our kingdom.”

Sickened by the king’s stale sweat and fetid breath, Daniel was grateful he hadn’t eaten. How many promises had this regent broken? Many believed Belshazzar had killed his father to take Babylon’s throne. Shrugging off Belshazzar’s hands, Daniel stepped back and bowed with forced habit.

“You may keep your gifts and reward someone else. The Most High God gives glory and splendor to whomever He pleases—as He did to your forefather King Nebuchadnezzar. But when the king became proud, he was stripped of his glory, driven away from people, and given the mind of an animal. He lived with wild donkeys and ate grass like the ox until he acknowledged that the Most High God is sovereign over all kingdoms on earth and sets over them anyone He wishes. But you, Belshazzar, though you knew all this, have not humbled yourself.”

Shocked whispers rolled like a tide over the noblemen in the hall, confirming that King Nebuchadnezzar’s transformation had not been widely known. Daniel scanned the crowd, noticing for the first time the glint of gold set before each guest.

Righteous indignation loosed his tongue again. “You set yourself against the Lord of heaven by allowing your nobles, wives, and concubines to drink wine from the goblets taken from Yahweh’s Temple. You have not honored the God who holds your life in His hands, so His hand wrote your doom on the wall.”

Daniel pointed to the blazing words and read aloud:

“MENE, MENE, TEKEL, PARSIN. The Lord has numbered the days of your reign and brought it to an end. You have been weighed on scales and found wanting. Your kingdom is divided and given to the Medes and Persians.”

He bowed once more and turned to go.

“Wait!” Belshazzar grabbed his arm and then lowered himself to one knee, inclining his head. “Please. I believe everything you’ve said, but please have mercy.” He stood and lifted his voice to the gathering. “Daniel will wear a purple robe from my chamber, and only my commands and those of my father carry more authority than Daniel’s in the whole empire.”

Belshazzar removed the gold chain from his neck and lifted it over Daniel’s head, letting the chiseled granite seal rest on the prophet’s chest. Lingering near, he spoke in a voice meant for only the prophet. “You’re now a son of Babylon. Surely your god won’t destroy an empire governed by one of his own.”

Daniel answered in an equally quiet voice. “My God will destroy many empires to bless His own.”

King Belshazzar recoiled, stiffened, and studied him. “You will remain at my side until I’m convinced you haven’t somehow conspired against me.”

“As you wish.” Daniel followed him to the elevated table, eating food prepared by palace cooks instead of the meal made by Mert’s loving hands.

Yahweh, protect my family when You bring Cyrus into Babylon.

(Continues…)



Excerpted from "Of Fire and Lions"
by .
Copyright © 2019 Mesu Andrews.
Excerpted by permission of The Crown Publishing Group.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Of Fire and Lions: A Novel 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 59 reviews.
bsnksmom More than 1 year ago
Taken from her home in Jerusalem as a 9-year-old child, Abigail serves the four Hebrew princes, Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. When Daniel becomes Belteshazzar, and the other three become Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, she continues to act as their servant, cleaning and bringing meals to "the boys." By the time she is 10, she comes under the Babylonian king's scrutiny, because the king feels Daniel is too invested in the beautiful slave girl. Stolen away from her boys, Abigail is basically cast adrift on the streets of Babylon, where her beauty becomes her curse. Hiding and stealing food for survival only lasts so long. When she is found nearly dead from starvation in a back alley, she is taken to the temple of Mithra and nursed back to health. To pay back her captors for their care, she becomes a temple slave, which doesn't seem bad. She'd been helping her mother clean the palace for years. This wasn't so different, until one day, a greedy temple priest sells her innocence to a high ranking official for 50 shekels. After that, she becomes Belili, and attains the rank of high priestess of Mithra, leaving her memories of Yahweh's provision for her in the past. After all, He didn't save her from her darkest hour. Why would she continue to revere Him? Daniel never forgot little Abigail. She was his first love, and even though he married later, he never fully gave his heart again. He has worked his way to being one of King Nebuchadnezzar's top advisors, interpreting the king's dreams, and worshiping Yahweh. When the king's proclamation gets his three best friends thrown into a fiery furnace, God's power reaches out to save them, and confirms everything Daniel has always believed. When he realizes that his Abigail is also in attendance, and witnessed this miracle, he is equally stunned to find her married to a Babylonian official, and that she now goes by the name, Belili. What happens when a plague takes both of their spouses, leaving Belili with a son to care for and no income? Daniel for his part, must have a spouse to continue to serve the king, and he can think of none better than Belili. Their love-match ignites both of their hearts, but will her secrets destroy Daniel's faith? Wow! This is biblical fiction at its finest! I was so invested in Belili and her life, and could definitely see how her faith would have taken a serious hit in her early years. Daniel's life seemed easier in many ways, although he, too, was essentially a slave. The wisdom he gained through his worship of the one true God, became a tool to bring the nation of Israel out of bondage. Mesu Andrews ties many biblical stories into Of Fire and Lions, all of which I'd heard before, but I really never put them together as happening at the same time. And, let me just say, the "Daniel in the Lion's Den" part of the story is excellent!! I absolutely recommend this book to anyone who loves historical fiction. This book made the Bible stories come to life for me, and that is the BEST kind of fiction, as far as I'm concerned!
Sarah823SP More than 1 year ago
Biblical fiction- yes maam!! accurate facts of the biblical account-- of course- that's what Mesu Andrews is known for. Bringing the story to life, getting you to read the book of Daniel again to compare and fully envision the story--- this book will do that. This book is a delight and a page turner. I love the vivid reality developed in this fictionalized portrayal of moving from the promised land and loosing all your family to a new life for the next 70 years in Babylon. This book makes the bible come alive and does that without changing the view of Daniels respect and commitment to Yahweh. It adds family to his life, drama, and experiences which enriches all the ways Daniel would be trusting God even when others may doubt His goodness. I found this book captivating and would suggest it to my friends. It's hard to bring the Bible to life in a fictional account, but Mesu Andrews has done it again by introducing us to Daniels family all the way through great grandchildren! By sharing the good and the disappointing aspects of life in submission to a King and Yahweh. The conflict is real. The commitment authentic. The people seem real and I'll never think about these famous stories in the same way. Waterbrook Partner- blessed with this advanced copy.
Anonymous 8 days ago
Mesu Andrews does an extraordinary job on Of Fire and Lions. Well researched, tale that brings to life Daniel and his wife, Belili. The Bible doesn't indicate if Daniel had a wife, but Mesu chose to write in a wife and family. It's the story of the Babylonian captivity. The Old Testament Book of Daniel. Some of the fascinating characters: Shadrach, Meshach, Abednego, King Nebuchadnezzar, King Darius. "Our service to God isn't about comparing yourself to others, my son, It's about measuring obedience to our individual calling." Daniel replying to his son-in-law, Shesh. In love this. We should not compare ourselves to anyone. This would be great for your Book Club, as it has a Readers Guide at the end. This book was a finalist for the 2019 Christy Award. Thank you to publisher and NetGalley for this ARC
cristal6 9 days ago
This is a book that kept me glued to it! This goes through the book of Daniel, but with a human interest twist; what possibly went on behind the scenes. The main characters are Daniel and Bilili (Abigail). A lot of this story has to do with Abigail. We start at the point of the exodus from Jerusalem to Babylon. Daniel, with his three friends, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, were princes in Jerusalem. Abigail, who is also one who is being sent to Babylon, was put into the care of the four princes. Daniel took it upon himself to protect Abigail, who was just a young girl. Their love for each other grew from there, but there are many obstacles that keep them apart. Will they ever get together? If they do, will they remain loyal to Yahweh? You will need to read the book to find the answers to these questions and more. Of Fire and Lions was a finalist for the Christy Award and it became available for sale March 5, 2019. I received a complimentary copy of this ebook from NetGalley for my honest review.
Mable Dotson 12 days ago
Such an amazing and spiritual inspiring book! Mesu Andrews took me on an amazing journey through the pages of the bible that made me feel like I was actually there in the fiery furnace with the three Hebrews to being lowered down into the den of lions with Daniel! It took me a while to read this book simply because I didn't want it to end ~ I wanted to savor each word that I read, but as with all good books, it had to come to an end. Thank you so much Mesu for such an amazing book!
Gloria_Moseley 23 days ago
Of Fire and Lions by Mesu Andrews stretches the very definition of Christian fiction.Very little research is required to find that Daniel would very likely have been among those servants who were made eunuchs to the king.Even the prophecy in 2 Kings 20:18 attests to such a likelihood.Therefore,the inclusion of a wife for Daniel should be considered outright fiction, as opposed to being scriptural in nature. Furthermore, the mention of Daniel going into a trance-like state when in prayer is not supported by biblical evidence, but rather is descriptive of religions not in-line with Christianity. I am aware this book is fiction, but it was difficult to read this book in it's entirety. If one wishes to enjoy Christian fiction, I do not recommend "Of Fire and Lions." I received a complimentary copy of this book through NetGalley and was not required to post a favorable review. All opinions are my own.
Anonymous 25 days ago
Excellent read, well researched & very believable characters. I highly recommend it!
CherryPie0420 3 months ago
I have always shied away from Biblical fiction because of my fear of the author's interpretation on a character or event of the Bible taking away from the truth of God's Word. Of Fire and Lions was my first taste of Biblical fiction and there are things that definitely threw me off, the biggest being the fact that Daniel is married. Since the Bible doesn't say anything about him being married I've always assumed that he was single, and though I did appreciate the author's explanation and reasoning behind making him married, this fact was a little bothersome to me. What redeemed the story for me was Daniel himself and the story as a whole being full of emotion but connecting to Abigail was tougher for me. I'm not entirely sure why but I undeniably felt a disconnect with her character. I also felt like the entire narrative was disjointed, the reader being switched from the past to the present, back and forth like a ping-pong ball, and being expected to keep up with the changing settings, characters, and situations. I fought to love this book but sadly it was a disappointing read for me. Maybe I had too high of expectations or it wasn't the right season for me to be reading this book, but it was a struggle to make it through, and solidified my doubts for reading Biblical fictions in the first place. *I have reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received from WaterBrook. All opinions are completely honest, and my own.
Joycerl 4 months ago
Whenever I read Christian fiction I always judge it by its appeal to a non Christian. This book definitely bridges the gap without being preachy. It sticks to facts about Daniels life while expertly weaving in the fictional wife and personal life.Daniel was a chosen man.This book made me revisit Daniels story in my Bible.Mesu Andrews brought him to life. Thankyou Netgalley and Waterbrook for this ARC
Woofiejo 7 months ago
Another Amazing Book By Mesu Andrews! I have never read a book By Mesu Andrews that I did not completely love… and this one is no exception! Although I have done a comprehensive 12-week bible study from Beth Moore on Daniel, read Daniel for Dummies (yes it was a real book but can’t find it anymore), and studied the topic of Daniel’s life in detail, there were so many new things that I discovered about Daniel’s life through reading this book. While most kids in Sunday school have heard the stories of the three men in the fiery furnace and Daniel in the lion’s den, Mesu Andrews has a real gift for being able to put the reader in the middle of the Bible Story to experience it. You will feel all the emotion of the events as they are happening. You will see nuances you have never seen before. The story of Daniel starts when he was just a teen (about 15 years old) and he is taken from the royal family in Jerusalem and brought into captivity for an intensive three-year training period to eventually be put in service to the King. He faithfully serves four different Kings and it is not until the age of about 80 years old when he is thrown into the lion’s den for his “supposed disloyalty” to King Darius. Finally, Daniel has even won over King Cyrus who finally allows the Jewish people to return to their homeland (and pays the bill). Although I had read about Daniel’s integrity from an early age (when he chose not to eat of the King’s food that might have been offered to idols), this was just the smallest glimpse into the integrity with which Daniel lived his life. He faithfully served King Nebuchadnezzar although he had watched the destruction of the Jerusalem temple and the plunder of all of the holy items that were taken. The King had killed many in Daniel’s royal family (or had certainly not been gracious to them). Yet, Daniel continued to honor the role he had been given and continued to serve this King faithfully despite the horrific things he had experienced as a result of this King’s decisions. Despite the honor that Daniel should have received for his actions and wisdom in ruling the kingdom, he continued to humble himself in all occasions and point to the glory of his God. What a lesson for today about how to live humbly in a broken world, how to live justly among the unjust and how to hold fast to your faith and the principles of your God. I received a copy of this book from Netgalley.com and the publisher in exchange for my fair and unbiased review.
GodCreatedItAll 9 months ago
This book is great Christian Fiction! I really loved reading it. But you do have to remember it is Christian FICTION. There is a good story throughout though it did seem, to me, to drag out things a litter more than I liked, but still it’s a wonderful book if you like Christian Fiction books. It’s clean nothing I found was profane or bad to read and that means a lot. Just a really good book. Thank you to #NetGalley and the publishers for the opportunity to read and honestly review #OfFireAndLions .
Laundry_Whispers 11 months ago
I've yet to meet a Mesu book I didn't love and 'Of Fire and Lions' fits into that niche pretty well. Remember please that I am totally not a cover person but this cover really does do justice to the words inside. And the words inside do justice to the Biblical references they are drawn from. If you grew up in church you heard the story of Daniel being tossed into the lion's den from a young age. That and Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego (and isn't it odd we know them by their Babylonian names and not their Hebrew names) being saved in the fiery furnace by an angel visible to all those who bore witness to the event. As you continued through studies into youth groups and possibly even adult Sunday School or Bible study you learned about the wisdom of Daniel and his ability to interpret dreams for the kings he served and the rise to the upper echelon of government due to the truth he never withheld, even to his own detriment. In his time he was considered a wise man, a man who always redirected back to God, a man who never lost his foundation of Jerusalem. Mesu, however takes all of that one step farther and builds a word that shows the depth of character that someone like Daniel would have need to stabilize the life he lead. It weaves him a life that would have been the backdrop to his government roles. And it brings this man to life in a way no other has. Mesu chose to write in a wife and family for Daniel, also known as Belteshazzar, his Babylonian name. The Bible doesn't specify if he had a family but in doing so in this book it allows for the great expansion of the themes of choices and redemption and reconciliation. the addition of Abigail (Belili is her Babylonian name) brings in the themes that we are all faced with, choosing to stay strong in our faith even when it feels dark and alone. 'Yes, I believed. . . that He answered your prayers. But not mine. I believed I was too broken, too stained.' You can't tell me there has never been a time in your life you felt too broken, too stained, just too something to be chosen by God. Abigail found herself pressed into service in a pagan temple. She found herself trying to find a path to maintain her life in the only way she, as a human knew how. She found herself feel separate from the same God that had shown himself to her in the Temple during the initial invasion. She wasn't separate from God but as a human she felt she was. And she made human choices outside of that faith. God is able to use that darkness to bring reconciliation to a family that feels fractured. God is able to use that darkness to bring faith the the faithless. God is able to use that darkness to bring humility and grace to those who need it, even Daniel as he faced his own fears at the mouth of the lions enclosure. 'Yahweh's plan for His people had seasons - sowing, growing, harvest and rest.' Through Daniel, and Abigail, we see these seasons. Through their experiences and ultimately their family they sow the seeds of their faith and they grow in those seeds. They ultimately harvest those seeds and send them out to do the things they dreamed of since their you, the return to Jerusalem, during the years of their rest. There is so much depth to this book, so much room for understand and growth. There is literally something here for everyone to take away a seed of their own to sow. A reminder that God is not a feeling or a one time experience. A reminder that God never abandons us but keeps
Rebecca Tellez 11 months ago
Biblical fiction at its best. Meet Daniel in the land of Babylon from the time he is taken captive until his very old age. Mesu Andrews has stayed true to the Biblical accounts but added a fascinating story of what life beyond the pages of Scripture might have been like. We meet his children and a stepson who causes sorrow to his mother and Daniel, much like real modern life for blended families. There is palace intrigue, secrets that threaten to destroy love, and woven throughout the hope that comes from a faith and hope in the One True God who never leaves us alone. You will be with Daniel in the lion's den and at the furnace as his friends are thrown in. You will meet Nebuchadnezzar and his wife as he lives as the seven years eating grass and so many more scenes from Scripture and so many more adventures of these people that populate this terrific book. You will meet fascinating characters with all the attributes that make up our human selves, some of these are: Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, Belili, Daniel's wife, King Nebuchadnezzar, a very special eunuch Ashpenaz, King Belshazzar, Ayitis, wife of Neuchadnezzar and friend of Belili, King Darius, and the children of Daniel. I highly recommend this book. "Disclosure statement: I receive complimentary books for review from publishers, publicists, and/or authors, including Netgalley. I am not required to write positive reviews. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255."
Empm1128 More than 1 year ago
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own. Story is told from the point of view of Daniel and Belili. It is testimony to God’s faithfulness through adversity. Switching between alternate time periods is a bit confusing, but overall it works. Andrews weaves the biblical account into a beautiful story where the readers feels like they have front row seats to history.
MJK108 More than 1 year ago
“Truth. It is the only purely righteous thing on earth giving it power over the excesses of wine, unrighteous kings, and disagreeable women. Truth alone prevails forever without partiality or preference.” --Zerubbabel Mesu Andrews takes the biblical life of Daniel, beginning his story as a young man of Jewish royalty, and spins it together with creative storytelling to give him a lovely young maid named Abigail/Belili, and further enhances the tale with plenty of historical detail. Daniel’s capture by King Nebuchadnezzar and his years of service in Babylon begin the detailed story of Daniel and Belili’s life both together at times and apart. The story is very detailed and the reader will encounter many Biblical characters, such as Meshach, Shadrach, and Abednego and the angels, Gabriel and Michael, as well as the historical figures such as King Nebuchadnezzar and his wife. The story weaves back and forth from their younger past to their older life as they near the end of their time in exile. Readers of biblical fiction and detailed historical biblical fiction will enjoy this book. It is not a light read, but it is a very interesting account of Daniel’s life as it could have been. This copy was received from Waterbrook Press. The above thoughts and opinions are wholly my own.
thedanielsr More than 1 year ago
I found this book fascinating! I have never really thought of how the stories that we read in the Bible affected those around the people in the stories. Makes me want to know more!
Shopgirl152ny1 More than 1 year ago
This novel was fascinating as we see what life would have been like for the Jews taken as captives to Babylon and for a young girl trying to survive in a strange land. I can't imagine how frustrating it would have been to not have any say in your future and to be at the whim of capricious kings. I liked imagining Daniel's wife, if he had one, and what she might have been like. I also liked the different times we see, from Belili as a young captive to her time years later in Babylon and Media. It made the story even more interesting to jump around and see parts of her past. Belili was a wonderful character, very strong and stubborn, sometimes speaking before she thinks. She was very relatable. I couldn't imagine going through all that she did and I could understand the choices she made and how hard it would have been to choose Yahweh instead of the easier way. I liked Daniel a lot, too, and Mesu Andrews succeeded in making him more real I tend to look at Bible heroes as almost perfect. She made him a bit of a workaholic and I was also disappointed in something he failed to do; she also showed his fear when he knew he was going to the lions. The scenes with Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego in the fiery furnace and Daniel in the lion's den were amazing! The faith element was wonderful as we really see Belili's faith get weaker and stronger depending on her circumstances until her trust in God grows and her faith isn't influenced by circumstances anymore. There's also some suspense and some romance. I would highly recommend this book if you like Biblical fiction. I received this book from Waterbrook Multnomah. I was not compensated for this review. All opinions are my own.
lolly-pops More than 1 year ago
OF FIRE AND LIONS is Ms. Andrews' newest biblical fiction and fans of this genre will devour it. Biblical fiction is not my favorite genre, I find it changes the way I look at the Bible and I am not sure if how much of the story is fiction. However, Ms. Andrews is a very talented author, the story is engaging and hard to put down--even for me, a non-fan! Her characters come to life on the page and as the reader, I care. If you love biblical fiction, you will love OF FIRE AND LIONS. I was given a copy free. All opinions are my own.
rkfall More than 1 year ago
Of Fire and Lions by Mesu Andrews was a fictional book based on the Daniel of the Old Testament. I just love Daniel and God’s Word. Because of this, I struggled at first with this book and was not understanding why she was bringing in a life mate (wife) into his story. I was like, is this like watching a movie about Noah and having there be other boats in the water… Then I flipped to the back of the book where she shares why she decided to add this element and that helped me to see this author has sought His Scripture and is a fellow-studier of His Word, doesn’t take His Word lightly, and she wasn’t just uneducated but she shares her possible findings, most importantly she included a Biblical example. Whether that is where I’ll land or not, this helped me let go and get into the reading a bit deeper. What I found when I did this was amazing writing of fiction. I related often with the wife and her struggles for forgiveness to King Neb and all the pain he had brought into her life. Such pictures painted in words. I would liken it to watching the movies "Passion of the Christ” and “The Nativity”. Not everything is written down for us in Scripture but one example from “The Nativity” was when Joseph and Mary were leaving Nazareth to journey to Bethlehem, Joseph states that “the people were going to miss us”. Knowing the cost involved in Mary’s decision of obedience to the Lord’s will cost them, many things. To see in this book the costs involved in Daniel determining beforehand that he would not defile himself. It’s powerful. The three friends and their journey into the fire and all… breathtakingly powerful. Everything before that, after that, and in between. Exceptional fiction. I’m so blessed to have picked up this book and I’ll be reading it again and sharing it with others! I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.
NKBookReviewer More than 1 year ago
I was well acquainted with the story of Daniel and Shadrack, Meshack, and Abednego. My young years in Sunday School taught me those stories and we even sung songs about them. However, “Of Fire and Lions” taught me so much more about this biblical story. Author Mesu Andrews is an exquisite author of biblical fiction. She does her research diligently and produces an exemplary novel. It took me one paragraph, that’s all, to become invested her her latest masterpiece. Her penned words picked me up and gently set me down in Daniel and his wife Abigail/Belili’s home. With the author’s talented style I was able to glimpse the land, feasts, customs, and life of Daniel’s time. Her eloquent words flowed gracefully and never stumbled. Emotions seemed to transfer to me as I felt snubbed or frightened as Abigail admitted she did. Daniel became frustrated and so did I. The author knows how to get readers involved and feel what she has written. Descriptions were vivid and to the point. Every word had a responsibility in this work of art and together they produced a stunning, God-glorifying retelling of a biblical story. Each chapter begins with scripture. The point of view alternates between Daniel and his wife throughout the book. I adored that. Since this was fiction, I had to remind myself that it did not necessarily happen this way. Blanks were just filled in by the author. All of the essentials for a Christian book were met. First and foremost, it was easy to see this was a Christian fiction that honored a God. Secondly, I gleaned information. It is refreshing to come away from reading a novel with information that I previously did not know. Thirdly, there are discussion questions. I highly recommend this book. It made me feel closer to God as I read it. Anyone would benefit from reading it. A reading group would find this to be the perfect choice. I rated it 5 out of 5 stars. A copy was provided by the publisher by I was under no obligation to write a favorable review. These are my own, honest thoughts.
ConsultingWriter More than 1 year ago
I joined the book launch for Of Fire and Lions when I realized it was written by author Mesu Andrews, winner of the 2018 Christy Award for her previous novel, Isaiah's Daughter. After reading her latest book, I can see why she'd won the award last year. She has a talent for weaving the Biblical story into her fictional tale, making it a true historical fiction. Fans of that genre will enjoy this read. Besides that, her writing is spot on. Very descriptive and clear, it easily pulls the reader into the story. And the cover is stunning. So kudos to the designer of this novel's cover.The story is set in the book of Daniel when Nebuchadnezzar conquers Jerusalem and kidnaps Judean's finest youth to be educated for eventual service in the king's court. For those familiar with the Bible, or who've grown up hearing the Bible stories, it includes, as the title would suggest, the event involving Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. However, most of the story is told from the perspective of Abigail (aka Bellili), another Judean captive who develops a friendship with Daniel and ends up witnessing miraculous events. The theme? Be true and faithful to God even in tough times, always trusting in Him. As with reading the Bible, while reading this novel I find myself wondering how I would react to similar situations that Daniel experienced. Belili is like us, often questioning and struggling with her faith during difficult circumstances.I really enjoying this read. Mesu is a skilled storyteller and her descriptions whisk the reader away to the world of Daniel. It got me curious enough to re-read the book of Daniel. For fans of historical fiction, I highly recommend this book. I received a complimentary copy from WaterBrook Multnomah as part of the book launch. The honest opinions expressed in this review are my own.
Cheri5 More than 1 year ago
Of Fire and Lions by Mesu Andrews was a great fiction book based on the Biblical history of the account of Daniel. While I expect an author who chooses to write biblical fiction to research the topic thoroughly so as to give an accurate portrayal of the events, I also realize I’m reading a fiction book and the author is going to add much to the story to keep it going. I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I love reading about Daniel and I felt as though I understood the history surrounding Daniel much better after having read this book. I felt as though I had a better grasp on the lifestyles back then, customs, etc. – facts I could have gotten from a history book but much prefer to read in a fiction style. Very interesting – so glad I read it. I received a complimentary copy of this book from Waterbrook-Multnomah. I am not required to leave a positive review and all opinions are solely my own.
Virginiaw More than 1 year ago
I have never been disappointed with a Mesu Andrews book and this is no exception. I love the biblical connotations. She takes little known women of the Bible and brings them to life. She makes me feel what these women are going through. I loved Belili. She has a hard life growing up and goes through many trials and tribulations. I did not want to put this book down. I received a copy of this book from the author for a fair and honest opinion that I gave of my own free will.
vics49548 More than 1 year ago
So imagine Daniel. We know about “Daniel and the lions den”. We don’t know a lot more about him. Author Mesu Andrews helps to fill in some gaps with her “what if” novel. What if Daniel was married as a young man? But not to his first love. What if later that first love became his wife? Let me say that Andrews in no way states her book as “the way it was”. It’s clearly a work of fiction that makes you think about possibilities but does not in any way attempt to change the biblical information about Daniel. We are given a lot of historical information about the temple, the ark of the covenant, what life was like in those days, all wrapped up in a beautiful love story. I found myself on the edge of my seat often. Those were not easy times and no one was exempt from the brutal rulers. But through the entire story we see God caring for His people, no matter the situation they were thrust into. And I found myself searching my heart. Could I stand as strong as they did, in the face of death? Who knows. We may need to answer that some day. If you enjoy historical or biblical fiction that will cause you to search your heart, that will make you gasp at times or even weep, then you must read Of Fire and Lions. I received a complimentary copy of this book but was not required to leave a review.
FHlady More than 1 year ago
Mesu Andrews says her philosphy of writing Biblical fiction is: 1) Biblical accounts and Scripture to build the foundation, 2) Historical facts the support the truth of God's Word, and 3) creative fiction to hold the historical fact and Biblical truth together. This is so obvious in this wonderful tale of Daniel. The story is so well-fashioned that it seamlessly weaves all 3 components together to place me right in the middle of Daniel's life and the time period and evil that existed during the 70 year Jewish exile to Babylon. I felt the frustrations and weariness that Daniel felt in dealing with the kings and royal court while, at the same time, staying true to his Hebrew beliefs. The stress and pressure had to have been overwhelming, yet Daniel never lost faith. The Bible doesn't tell us whether or not Daniel was married, Andrews' story created a plausible marriage and family that could have been true. I especially appreciated Andrews' concluding notes that gave explanation of the choices that she made in choosing points within the story that were best supported by Scripture and history. An excellent Biblical read that made my 2019 favorites list and which I would highly recommend to readers of Biblical fiction. **I received a complimentary copy of this book from Waterbrook through NetGalley. Opinions are mine alone. I was not compensated for this review.