In All His Glory

Written by John Howard Reid
Review by Steve Donoghue

At one point toward the end of Tom Howard Reid’s fast-paced and thoroughly enjoyable novel In All His Glory, the Pharaoh Shishak turns to the exiled Hebrew leader Jeroboam and wryly asks, “Haven’t you had enough adventure for one day?” Readers who sign on for this rollercoaster ride of a novel will sympathize—and they’ll long since have guessed the answer!

Reid takes the sparse passage of the Old Testament that details the story of Jeroboam—raised up as a favorite of King Solomon, then exiled by that king for conspiracy against the throne, only to be befriended by the pharaoh (in reality a ruthless Berber interloper to the Egyptian monarchy)—and spins it out into an energetic story of sometimes frantic adventure and sometimes murky political intrigue. Refreshingly, Reid’s Jeroboam can be a bit of a putz, and once he’s ensconced in the Egyptian court, he himself meets quite a few believably flawed people. Reid indulges in antiquated lines that would have pleased Sir Walter Scott (“Have I not provided for thee?” one character asks another, “What hast thou lacked?”), and his narrative skills never desert him as he puts his characters through their paces.

A highly recommended romp—and let’s hope a companion volume devoted to Shishak himself is in the works.