Gods & Kings

Written by Lynn Austin
Review by Nancy J. Attwell

Though he is the son of Ahaz, king of Judah, Hezekiah is not protected from his father’s perverted attempts to seek the favor of the idol, Molech. Judah is under attack on three sides. As the armies approach Jerusalem, the king orders each household to sacrifice their eldest son to the god. Terrified and powerless at the foot of Molech’s altar, Hezekiah encounters Yahweh, the God of his ancestors. Against the advice of his most trusted advisors, Ahaz seeks out an alliance with the Assyrian emperor, sweetening his offer of friendship with gold stripped from Yahweh’s temple. Ahaz learns, too late, that treasure given as a gift may be received as tribute. Hezekiah grows to manhood in a palace where the king is enslaved to a foreign emperor and Yahweh’s high priest is consumed by a lust for power. Few even remember Yahweh’s ancient covenant with Judah. But Yahweh has not forgotten.

This retelling of the biblical story of Hezekiah is a riveting combination of thriller, intrigue, and romance. Austin brings a depth of psychological understanding to her characters that is refreshing in inspirational fiction. Although the original may be found in 2 Chronicles, I will eagerly await Austin’s sequel.