Before I have to change into my Halloween costume, I thought I'd post the review that appeared in The Herald Journal today by book critic, Charlene Hirschi. I'm very exited about it because it was so positive.
Click on the link below and you can read the review in its orginal publication form. Have a fun and safe Halloween, everyone.
Lending Fresh Ideas to a Scriptural Account
Regional Reads Review by Charlene Hirschi
October 31, 2008
On Saturday, Nov. 1, Covenant will release possibly the most important series of LDS fiction since Gerald Lund’s “Work and the Glory”—H. B. (Heather) Moore follows up her successful "Out of Jerusalem" project with the “Prophets of the Promised Land” series. Every Primary child is familiar with the Arnold Friberg rendition of the elderly Abinadi appearing in King Noah’s court bound in shackles. That picture has been so embedded din our minds that up to this time no author has ever considered Abinadi might have been a young man with a family.
But that is exactly how Moore has imagined him.
After her painstaking research, she discovered there was nothing in the scriptures to indicate his age. “Wouldn’t a young Abinadi with a wife and family have more to lose than a white-haired prophet who had lived out his life?” she asked herself. “I have chosen to portray Abinadi as a young man in his 20s when he receives the first call from the Lord. I decided to place Abinadi at the age of 27 . . . with a specific purpose. I wanted to expound on a story—a story that has been passed down from generation to generation—of a man who sacrificed everything for what he believed in. I didn’t want Abinadi to e at the end of his natural life or a man who’d lived a life full of happiness with children and grandchildren. I saw Abinadi as a man who still had many years ahead of him—one who stood to lose a lot more than just his life.”
In July, Moore sent the advance manuscript to me. I immediately started to read and couldn’t put the book down until I’d read every word. Her concept of the young Abinadi is a stroke of genius and just one more example of how this author’s imagination and fresh ideas enrich the scriptural account and make the events and people come alive.
As with the “Work and the Glory,” the reader must continually remind herself these are real people mixed with fiction where some of the events have been added to make a better and more complete story. This said, however, I learned so much about Abinadi and my admiration for his courage in the face of certain death increased with every page. This is a book that will live up to the expectations of the scriptorian while satisfying the fiction aficionado who craves romance and adventure.
Based on the events of six chapters in Mosiah, Moore remains true to the story found there but, folded sweetly among the Book of Mormon events, is a love story. King Noah has set his eyes on the beautiful, young daughter of one of the priests in his court. Raquel, “a young woman whose beauty exceeded most,” had also caught the eye of a young Abinadi, but his chances seemed remote at best, since “a Nephite girl born beautiful and noble had little choice in her destiny”—no doubt her fate was to be yet another wife in the harem of the king. Her “class and her family would never take an offer of marriage seriously” from one so far below her station in life.
However, as all true romances would have it, Abinadi had also captured the eye of the young Raquel. She knew her parents would choose her husband—no doubt someone old, short or widowed with a brood of children for her to look after. The thought repulsed her, and she dreamed of the young Abinadi with “the deep, sorrowful eyes, amber-colored complexion, heavy eyebrows and angular chin. He was tall . . . and he was younger, probably in his mid-20s, than those men who continually cajoled her as she explored the herbs at the market.”
As the exciting story of the espionage, rebellion and courage unfolds, the reader is caught up in the tale, even though the ending is inevitable. Hoping against hope, the reader yearns for Abinadi’s survival but knows the mantel must pass from him to Alma as both fates are sealed. Moore is currently researching and writing the second book in the series, “Alma the Elder,” in hopes of a fall 2009 release. After reading “Abinadi,” a year will seem too long to wait.