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Monday, June 4, 2012

Covenant of War (Lion of War Series #2) by Cliff Graham

Published by Zondervan in March of 2012
348 pages.

There have been plenty of historical fiction books written about ancient wars as of late. Stephen Pressfield's Gates of Fire about the Battle of Thermopylae  or Conn Iggulden's Emperor Series about Julius Caesar come to mind. Bible-based historical fiction about war is pretty rare, however. Cliff Graham has chosen to write about the Old Testament's most complicated and best-documented warrior, David in the Lion of War Series.

In Covenant of War, David has just become King of Israel after the deaths of Saul and Jonathan. The kingdom is still quite torn and David's control of some areas is in name only. While he is still consolidating his power, the Philistines invade, yet again.

Graham has written the book based on the warriors described in 2 Samuel 23 and 1 Chronicles 11. The texts are hardly true histories in the sense that they tell a complete story and there is a lot of detail to fill in to make a full-fledged novel out of the material provided. Graham has done a solid job of providing a coherent story. The story focuses on the thirty leaders mentioned in the text, especially the three mentioned as "David's mighty warriors" is 2 Samuel 23:8. There is intrigue aplenty as David defends his people from the Philistines.

Graham fleshes out those warriors pretty well, but David is pictured as an erratic, capricious ruler throughout the book. I never got a feel for David throughout the book. It made the whole book seem rather difficult to read because the motivations of David are hidden. The battle scenes, however, are quite vivid (and bloody).

I rate this book 3 stars out of 5.

This book can be found on Amazon.com here: Covenant of War.

Reviewed on June 4, 2012

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