~ About the Book ~
The daughter of a pagan high priest, Sofea finds solace from her troubles in the freedom of the ocean. But when marauders attack her village on the island of Sicily, she and her cousin are taken across the sea to the shores of Canaan.
Eitan has lived in Kedesh, a City of Refuge, for the last eleven years, haunted by a tragedy in his childhood and chafing at the boundaries placed on him. He is immediately captivated by Sofea, but revealing his most guarded secret could mean drawing her into the danger of his past.
As threats from outside the walls loom and traitors are uncovered within, Sofea and Eitan are plunged into the midst of a murder plot. Will they break free from the shackles of the past in time to uncover the betrayal and save their lives and the lives of those they love?
Genre: Biblical/Historical Fiction
Series: #2 Cities of Refuge
Release date: 2 October 2018
Publisher: Bethany House
~ Excerpt ~
“What happened to her?”
The girl’s narrow-set eyes, as dark as her long, straight hair, timidly took in the scene in the room, the long table laden with food, the children gawking at her, and Nadir and I standing across the room doing the same. Her hand trembled on Baz’s shoulder as she shrank back against him.
“We think she was in a shipwreck,” said Darek. “Her ankle is so badly damaged she cannot walk. She also seems to have been beaten, so it may have been some sort of slave transport.”
“You carried her all the way from Tyre?” my mother asked Baz in astonishment.
He shrugged one of his bear-like shoulders and I noticed that, like Darek, Baz was beginning to wear signs of age around his eyes and in the white patches at his temples. “Wasn’t a burden at all. She’s fairly tall but there’s not much meat on her scrawny bones.”
Ima frowned in consternation. “Don’t talk about such things in front of her—”
“Not to worry, ishti,” said Darek. “She doesn’t speak our language. Neither of them understand a word we say.”
“Neither?” My mother stood on the balls of her feet, craning her neck to peer past Baz and through the doorway. “Oh! Shalom,” she said, her voice gentle and inviting as she gestured for someone else to enter. “We won’t hurt you, dear. Come in, it is going to rain any minute.”
In response, a roll of thunder sounded in the distance as another young woman stepped over the threshold, immediately going to stand next to Baz, whose enormous height dwarfed her. Golden brown waist-length hair curled gently behind her shoulders and her sun-darkened skin set off eyes the color of a brilliant cloudless sky. She, too, sported a few bruises and scratches, but it seemed the darker-haired girl had suffered most of the effects of whatever trauma the two had endured.
With their knee-length white tunics stained and tattered and their bare feet encrusted with dirt and muck, the two strangers looked as though they’d been dragged all the way from Tyre. The diminutive young woman placed her hand on the arm of the one Baz still held, a move that spoke of protective reassurance. Then, as if she were staring down the whole of Yehoshua’s army, she cast a slow glance around the room, jaw set and body braced for battle, those vivid eyes full of silent warning.
It took everything I had not to let my mouth sag open. Who was this mythical creature Darek had plucked from the sea?
~ Review ~
Connilyn Cossette never fails to deliver a riveting story, and each book she releases sees her more firmly entrenched on my ‘must read authors’ list. Not only are her stories fantastic reads, but I always come away from them feeling like I’ve gained new insight into the Old Testament, whether that be a better understanding of the cultural context or the way in which the Israelite laws and customs point forward to Christ.
It’s been fascinating learning about the Cities of Refuge through this series, especially since they’re only mentioned briefly in the Bible, but even more fascinating in this particular story was learning about the Israelites’ laws and customs from the perspective of an outsider—and the daughter of a pagan high priest, at that. It’s so easy to look at the Old Testament laws from our 21st Century perspective and write them off as harsh and barbaric, but seeing them through Sofea’s eyes gives you a whole new perspective, bringing out the compassion and mercy that balances God’s justice.
Not only are the historical details fantastic, but it’s impossible not to become emotionally invested in the characters’ lives. Compelling personal struggles, delicious romantic tension, and high-stakes suspense just begged me to keep turning the pages, and I very happily complied.
I can’t wait for the next book in this series!
I received a copy of this novel from the publisher. This has not influenced the content of my review, which is my honest and unbiased opinion.
~ Other Books in the Series ~
Read my review for A Light on the Hill
~ About the Author ~
Connilyn Cossette is the author of the Out from Egypt Series with Bethany House Publishers. When she is not homeschooling her two sweet kiddos (with a full pot of coffee at hand), Connilyn is scribbling notes on scraps of paper, mumbling about her imaginary friends, and reading obscure out-of-print history books. Born and raised in the Pacific Northwest, she now lives in Texas where she loves the people but misses mountains, tall trees and barefoot-soft green grass. There is not much she likes better than digging into the rich, ancient world of the Bible, discovering new gems of grace that point to Jesus, and weaving them into fiction.