By Way of the Wilderness
Moses should have been murdered at birth according to the Egyptian Pharaoh’s decree. However, not only does he survive, he is raised as Egyptian royalty and ultimately guides his people, the Hebrews, out of slavery toward the Promised Land. Moses is saved when God instructs his mother to float him down the Nile in a reed basket, where he is discovered and adopted by the Pharaoh’s daughter. Moses eventually learns of his Hebrew family and is chosen by God to lead them.
Morris’s fictionalized retelling of Exodus conforms to the Bible’s rendition by including events such as the plagues, burning bush, parting of the Red Sea, writing of the Ten Commandments, and God’s punishment when the Hebrews lose their faith. Morris also explores the significance of the twelve tribes and speculates on the feelings of Moses, Aaron, and Miriam, among others. Intertwined are small romantic elements such as the relationship between Bezalel and Shani, important figures in the future of Israel.
Familiarity with the Biblical text is useful, but not necessary, to understand this pleasant and somewhat didactic novel, fifth in the Lions of Judah series.