Light of the Candle

Written by Carol Pratt Bradley
Review by Fiona Alison

Set in 605 BC, Light of the Candle is the story of Daniel, a prince of Judah, and his friends Hannaniah, Mishael, and Azariah, who comprise the young Jewish nobility sent as hostages to Babylon after King Nebuchadnezzar’s capture of Jerusalem. After a harrowing months-long desert journey, the boys settle into an education according to Babylonian tradition. A devoted scholar, Daniel proves himself worthy, eventually coming to the notice of the king, providing assistance on the design of the hanging gardens and, using his ability to see the future, interpreting a dream which has confounded all of the King’s sages.

Shortly before his capture, Daniel is betrothed to Sarai, whom he has known and loved since childhood. Overnight her secure future vanishes. No interest in remarrying and as the only child, she begs her father’s permission to study under Huldah, the prophetess, as a son might have done. After eight long years, Sarai and her parents find themselves amongst the two thousand Jewish elite sent to settle in Babylon (predicted by God through Jeremiah and known as the 70-year Babylonian Captivity).

Alternating between Daniel’s and Sarai’s story, Bradley’s fiction is significant in its research and depth. She moves through this ancient world with ease and assurance, incorporating biblical, historical, and imaginary characters into her narrative, along with an authenticity of language and custom. Unfortunately, a number of editorial inconsistencies jumped off the page and spoilt an otherwise fascinating read. Definitely worth a re-edit, however, as this book will no doubt bring enjoyment to lovers of historical and inspirational fiction alike.