The Gate of Heaven
In The Gate of Heaven (3rd in the Lions of Judah series), the prolific Morris has penned an involving and pleasurable retelling of the Old Testament stories of the patriarch Jacob. Using a strong, flowing narrative style, the author weaves together the interconnected episodes from Genesis concerning Jacob and his parents, his relationship with his twin brother Esau, his marriages to sisters Leah and Rachel, and his trials regarding his many children. While the major section of the book emphasizes Jacob, the last third concentrates on Dinah and the aftermath of her rape by Shechem. Numerous references to other cultures, food, customs, worship, etc., add period color and authenticity without bogging down the reader. Morris provides action aplenty, juggles a large cast of characters with practiced skill, and unflinchingly portrays tensions between wives, the cruelties of slavery, the hardships of a nomadic life, the price of deception, and the ultimate grace of God. A satisfying read on its own, the book contains enough loose ends to lead into the next book in the series.