Seven Days to the Sea
Moses the Israelite is adopted by an Egyptian princess, but his lofty position cannot save him when he kills an Egyptian for working the enslaved Israelites too hard. Fleeing to the desert, Moses falls in love with Tzipporah, daughter of Sinn’s high priest. At Sinn’s holy mountain, he meets Yahveh, the god of his people, who sends him back to Egypt to rescue the Israelites from oppression. At first the pharaoh refuses to relinquish his labour force, but he orders them to leave his land after Yahveh brings about the death of all firstborn Egyptians. Moses, along with his sister, Miryam, and brother, Aharon, leads the Israelite people away from Egypt, but there are many trials to overcome before they reach the Promised Land, including strained relationships between Moses and Tzipporah, and Tzipporah and Miryam.
This story is told through the eyes of Tzipporah and Miryam, both strong women who want Moses for themselves. To Tzipporah, he represents the saviour who extracted her from a life of nightmares; to Miryam, he is the younger brother she saved so that he might save their people. Kohn imagines what these two women must have been like, and what they must have experienced as the well-known tale of the Exodus unfolded. Their conflicts resemble ours, but their time is vastly removed from the world we live in today. Kohn makes this clear through her wonderful descriptions of landscape, beliefs, meals, clothing and living conditions.
I thoroughly enjoyed this author’s first novel, The Gilded Chamber. Seven Days to the Sea only confirms her ability to tell an epic story, and to breathe life into little-known historical women.